eCommerce revenue in Australia is expected to experience a compound annual growth rate (2021-2025) of 4.22%, resulting in a projected market volume of AU$45.7bil by 2025.
Making money online is the new frontier. In Australia alone, by 2025 the eCommerce market should reach $45b+. However, as with everything that’s new and amazing, it’s easy to be lost in the noise. It’s easy to do a lot if not all the things wrong. There’s a delicate balance that needs to be struck when going online with an eCommerce brand, store or product.
Proper guidance in these areas can mean the difference between success and total failure. Knowing what to offer, how to offer it and where to offer it is the knowledge that can only be obtained by doing. The benefit of experience from eCommerce Specialists is invaluable at this juncture.
The Importance of doing it right.
Place yourself in the shoes of a potential buyer. What do you look for when online shopping? What are the aspects of a website that inspire faith and trust in the product, and then the trust that giving your hard-earned cash over to this business will result in you getting your order safely and on time?
When creating your eCommerce store there are some critical aspects that you need to nail from your first sale and keep nailing every time.
- Solid hosting and design. Your eCommerce site must be built well. There can’t be any errors or faults with the data, descriptions or forms. The hosting you choose for your site must also be quick, responsive and scalable when your business takes off and gets tens of thousands of hits per day.
- The right way to pay. The market is evolving, your customers are evolving. Ensuring that you offer the right payment methods is critical. Simply offering PayPal and Credit Card payments is simply no longer enough.
- Shipping. This is potentially the most pivotal of all. According to the Dept. of Consumer Affairs, the merchant (store owner) is responsible for the product from the time the customer has purchased, to the time the product has arrived to the consumer. That means your shipping partners need to be chosen carefully. The way in which you ship your products is also critical to your success. You don’t want sales coupled with complaints and poor reviews saying they never got their products!
- Trust and Customer Service. You need to realise that an eCommerce store is in fact the same as opening a physical store in a popular shopping center. Your brand and/or site needs to elicit trust in its viewers. You need them to trust that you’re reputable and have integrity. That they can be safe doing business with you. You’re going to have potential customers contacting you 24/7 so your customer support needs to be on point, all the time. Don’t leave customer enquiries unanswered, don’t give vague non-answers. Be direct and honest every step of the way.
There’s so many to choose from; which is best?
Now that you’ve decided that going online is the best option for you and your business – which platform do you use? Which horse do you back with the success of your business?! The answer to that question comes down to an important factor – you. How much time do you have? How involved will you be? How good are you at learning new things? How much do you want, or, need this to succeed?
WordPress & Woocommerce
Without a shadow of a doubt, it’s our opinion that nothing can beat WordPress and Woocommerce. Multiple reasons attribute to this, however, the main deciding factor is flexibility. With these two as your base, you can do literally whatever the heck you want. Your imagination is your only limitation.
Due to its open-source nature, if the software doesn’t do what you want it to, simply re-write it to do as you wish! Need to ask more questions at the checkout? Done. Need to route orders through a complex process on the back end based on even more complex variables? Done.
Probably the best of the closed systems for eCommerce. With a Shopify site, everything is handled by them. Hosting, maintenance (of the server, not your site) and even payment gateways. One of the downsides to this platform is the cost.
The pricing model can be drilled down to, the more you make, the more you pay in fees and hosting etc. It can also be difficult to forecast its cost due to fluctuating fees based on how good your previous month was.
A huge benefit it has over the other guys is, marketing. Pay-per-click ads and email marketing are easier with Shopify as it’s built into the core platform.
Not unlike Shopify, Wix Page builder is aimed at the DIY crowd. Everything’s handled in-house and for what it does, it does it well.
Create Macarthur’s “problem” with the platform is that it’s very limiting compared to WordPress and Woocommerce. You do what you’re told and everything’s sweet. Fall down the custom rabbit hole and you’re on your own.
Being creatives, we like to do things how we want to. Platforms that own and run their own systems simply can’t give that much freedom away otherwise the entire customer base suffers. Unfortunately, that’s why we steer clear of Wix.
No doubt you’ve seen these guys advertising. They have a great ad game. Like Wix, Squarespace is aimed at the very beginning of the journey and the DIY team. It is capable of creating some stunning pages and sites – don’t get us wrong. We just feel that out of all the paid eCommerce platforms, this one is the most restrictive.
Being a bunch of web developers, we can see how it is appealing to businesses that want to start selling a small amount of product. For larger businesses, or those selling a higher number of items, we’d say that you’re better off looking somewhere a little more robust.