There’s an online store for pretty much anything these days.
From beeswax to smoothies, entrepreneurs have quickly grown their small businesses into global brands.
And it’s all, more or less, through the use of online stores.
But ecommerce isn’t just for small businesses.
Anyone can – and should – be using it.
In this post we’ll explore how larger organizations can use ecommerce principles to build their brand and boost audience engagement.
Nerdwax, a store that sells beeswax to keep your glasses in place, has become a global brand thanks to ecommerce.
Why ecommerce is so popular these days
Once upon a time selling goods meant high entry costs.
Opening a “brick-and-mortar” location.
Sorting out payment methods.
But that’s not the case anymore.
These days it’s never been easier to get into the commerce game.
The cost of entering the market is low
Setting up an online store these days is simple.
There are a ton of platforms to choose from.
They’re all variations on the same theme: Giving users a simple tool with which to build beautiful online stores.
Anyone who has something to sell – and even those who are just looking to make a quick buck– can quickly set up an online store.
Don’t want to set up your own store?
That’s not a problem either.
Tools such as Redbubble, Amazonand Etsy allow you to sell goods from someone else’s platform.
Redbubble isn’t targeted at large brands, but it’s an example of how you can do ecommerce without having to build your own platform.
It’s actually very simple
Think about everything you would need to do to start a standard brick-and-mortar store.
You’d need to find a location (obviously). Then you’d need to ensure you have the right permits and ensure you’re collecting the right amount of taxes. Then you’d need to figure out a way to collect payments. And on and on and on.
With ecommerce, it’s simple.
You set up a store and start selling.
There are so many different apps and tools available that any problem you encounter can, in most cases, be quickly and easily solved.
Many ecommerce platforms will also offer simple integrations for everything from charging tax to shipping.
And if you’re stuck?
There are a huge number of people around the world running online stores. And, chances are, someone’s encountered your exact same problem before.
All you need to do is head over to an online forum for help.
Ecommerce stores can be run on a “pay-as-you-go” basis
Once upon a time, maintaining inventory was a major obstacle to commerce.
Tying up money in goods that audiences could potentially not even buy scared away many would-be owners.
Dropshipping allows you to order goods on a pay-as-you-go basis.
Usually, it operates something like this:
- Customer purchases something from your website
- Order goes through to dropshipper, who produces the t-shirt/card/wallet and sends it off to the customer
- You get the customer’s money, the dropshipper gets your money
It’s that simple.
No arranging shipping details.
No need to (in many cases) even produce the good you’re selling.
It can be as simple or as complicated as you want.
How ecommerce can help your organization
Ecommerce can help any business – regardless of size.
Don’t sell goods?
Setting up an online store can help you further your marketing and branding goals.
Since operating an online store can be done with minimal cost and maintenance, selling goods online is a great way to supplement your revenue.
Let’s say, for example, you’re a non-profit looking to boost your fundraising.
An online store could help you to raise money with devoted supporters.
It can be as simple as slapping your logo on some t-shirts.
All you need to do is get set up with a dropshipper and start selling.
Or, if you want to get more complicated, you can produce some handmade goods.
The barrier to entry is higher, no doubt.
But you’ll also be able to charge more, which means more money in your pocket.
Either way, selling goods online can be an essential way to supplement your revenue.
Build your brand
Even if you don’t need the money, ecommerce has a role to play in your business.
Selling goods and services can help expand your brand’s reach and deepen engagement with audiences.
Consider: The Ringer, an online news and opinion site that trades heavily in sports and pop culture.
The company recently started an online store that sells items which trade heavily in terms, phrases and ideas that only devoted followers will know.
This t-shirt, for example, is a reference to a podcast interview with NBA star Kevin Durant that caused a mild stir online.
Your average fan probably wouldn’t be able to identify the reference.
But for fans of The Ringer, it’s a chance to differentiate themselves as a member of a somewhat exclusive community.
The Blog Boy t-shirt is a reference to an interview basketball star Kevin Durant did with The Ringer, a sports and pop culture site.
Sell products and services
Many organizations produce goods and services, but don’t sell them online.
Ecommerce is an opportunity to greatly expand your market.
Let’s say you own and operate a museum with a gift shop.
You sell what you have locally but haven’t yet taken the plunge into ecommerce.
Here you would be able to target audiences outside of those who happen to visit your location.
Ecommerce for everyone
It’s never been easier, simpler or faster to get involved in ecommerce.
When will your company start to take advantage?
Mark Brownlee is a Digital Marketing Strategist with Banfield.