Small businesses are sprouting up everywhere, from basements, workshops, and tiny home offices, for a chance to showcase their products and services for sale. As a new business, finding support outside of your family and friends can be hard, leading you to farmer’s markets or pop-up events for a chance to spread the word. While these approaches can help with exposure, an eCommerce website will help further support and grow your business long term. Think of your website as the glue between all of your selling channels, helping to drive brand consistency and sales. In fact, more than half of consumers start their buying journey online.
The demand for eCommerce has grown tremendously as more small businesses find the value of connecting and growing their client base through digital marketing efforts. Nearly 100,000 small businesses in the United States permanently closed in 2020, and we’re still feeling that ripple effect. If this past year didn’t push you to make the leap online, we hope this blog post will.
How eCommerce Can Benefit Your Business
When you think of buying online, the first thing that comes to mind is usually products. Purchasing holiday gifts, a new robot vacuum, or perhaps a new cookbook, but what about services? Recently we posted about selling your services online and the difficulty in finding a solution geared towards service-based businesses. We’re here to tell you; it doesn’t have to be complex.
You truly turn it into a one-stop-shop when you add eCommerce to your existing (or new) website. Not only can customers learn about your business and compare services, now they can purchase them directly. For service-based businesses, this can lead to better cash flow!
We know you’re thinking, “I offer ‘in-person’ services, they can’t purchase a massage online.” Very true, but they can book your service and pay in advance, and that payment reserves their spot and decreases the likelihood of them becoming a no-show.
For most service-based businesses, the buying journey is longer than that of a product related purchase. Consider putting in the extra effort to help educate your customer base by offering an online course or quick downloadable guides. Not only will this help build trust, but answer those initial questions often asked, keeping them out of your inbox so you can focus on your services.
Now eCommerce doesn’t necessarily have to end at making “purchases.” What about making payments? If your services are more costly, this extends that buying journey even further! Consider offering your clients a payment program or simply the ability to pay online. In terms of late invoice payments, American companies took the worst hit. In 2020, 53% fewer invoices were paid on time than in 2019 and 2018. Sometimes it’s not because the funds aren’t there, it’s because your invoice system is complicated or your clients forget. With the ability to pay online, everyone from attorneys, consultants to dentist offices and home improvement businesses can benefit from this addition.
eCommerce doesn’t stop with collecting payments. It also collects information. As technology continues to progress, so does the war on privacy. If this concern is hindering your decision to go eCommerce, don’t let it. It’s your website, and you can choose what information you collect and retain.
Even the simplest of information like names and email addresses can benefit your small business. By collecting this information, you can now start using email to market to your clients, opening up a new selling avenue and an opportunity for direct communication.
eCommerce can also help you establish subscription or membership models for your service-based business. These add-ons can be great for small businesses ranging from travel agencies to even health care providers. Not only will you collect your client’s basic information, but you can set them up on a recurring payment method to keep that cash flow moving!
We often hear from established small businesses the complaint of “personal experience.” If someone doesn’t come into your store and speak to you face to face, then you feel as though you’re not giving them the personal experience you’ve worked so hard to deliver. Valid claim indeed, but technology is not as cold as it once was.
If you’re collecting information, as we mentioned above, you can customize the experience for your clients even further! Automated birthday cards, reward programs, information, and news around their favored services. The more you know about your clients, with a digital platform to collect and segment them, the better you can deliver the right message at the right time.
Remember that stat about late invoices? Now you can set up a reminder sequence to ensure you get paid. For long-time clients, you know their purchase history. Are they buying enough yoga classes each month that they could benefit from a package offer? Send them your deal!
Opportunities and Scalability
If you haven’t caught on by now, the opportunities are endless. Digital marketing paired with the power of eCommerce can help you establish and scale your business to new heights. The beauty of a service-based business going digital is the low overhead. You can try new marketing tactics for three months and not be sitting with thousands of boxes of inventory unsold. It’s a digital playground and, when working with the right partner, you could not only make a name for yourself but also change the way your entire industry works.
Easy eCommerce with GreenCup Digital
If you’re ready to take the leap into eCommerce, we’re here for it! An easy eCommerce website builder for small businesses doesn’t have to be scary, hard, or time-consuming. Actually, it’s the opposite of all of those things with GreenCup Digital. If you have an established WordPress website and want to add eCommerce functionality, take advantage of our Easy eCommerce solution. This limited-time offer is available each fall to help businesses like yours before the holiday rush. We take the task completely off your plate by installing a “storefront,” connecting to Stripe or Paypal for painless transactions, and building as many as three of your service offerings to help get you started. And, as always, we provide a custom tutorial to show you how to make changes to your website step-by-step. Don’t wait any longer, let your business benefit from the power of eCommerce!