It’s time we set the record straight on some e-commerce myths that too many business owners still believe.
And yet incredibly, a large number of business owners still feel unwilling to venture an online channel. Having talked with many small-to-medium business owners over the years, we’ve learned that their objections usually come down to one of the following four e-commerce myths.
E-commerce Myth 1: I’m already successful
It’s always hard to argue with success.
If you’re already running a successful business offline, consistently growing your sales and your customer base without an internet connection, then launching a web store may understandably be an afterthought (at best). And for certain local businesses in small, well-established communities, it could seem like a lot of work for not much (expected) benefit.
The reality: E-commerce is growing in every industry, and will continue to grow. The marketplace is changing rapidly. According to Statista, global e-commerce sales are expected to break 4.5 trillion by 2021.
In other words, no matter how successful your business may already be, e-commerce represents a highly lucrative channel that can grow your business quickly and dramatically.
At the same time, your competitors are looking at the same opportunity. Many of them may have a similar assumption—that they’re doing just fine without it. Implementing an e-commerce strategy now puts you ahead of the curve, letting you claim your share of all that growth before everyone starts running to catch up.
E-commerce Myth 2: It isn’t right for my business
We hear this e-commerce myth most often from business-to-business (B2B) companies, who tend to see e-commerce as a retail thing.
This makes sense from a certain standpoint. E-commerce originated as and went on to become a global standard for retail. It brought speed, accessibility, and convenience to retail purchases, empowering customers all over the world to shop twenty-four hours a day without the need of a sales rep.
But B2B companies have longer sales cycles, with purchasing decisions that often involve numerous departments and managers. Their business model is built on intricate customer relationships involving highly personalized product offerings and pricing structures. The one-size-fits-all impulse purchase retail model just wouldn’t work.
The reality: E-commerce has evolved a lot over the years. Industry giants like Amazon and eBay have set the standard when it comes to the e-commerce customer experience, and this has influenced every area of e-commerce development, including B2B e-commerce.
B2B e-commerce platforms incorporate the best features of B2C, like customer self-service, around-the-clock accessibility, and price and product transparency. But it’s calibrated for B2B. It lets you configure prices and products on a per-customer basis, create individualized promotions, price by quote, and more. All fully integrated to your back office systems and ERP.
E-commerce Myth 3: Nobody can compete with Amazon
Some business owners feel that sites like Amazon and eBay make it pointless to try selling anything online. Proponents of this common e-commerce myth believe that all the factors from SEO to word-of-mouth marketing (to say nothing of these companies’ bottomless pockets) doom any other online venture to come in dead last.
The reality: The success of Amazon and eBay only makes it that much easier for your business to succeed.
On the one hand, it goes without saying that despite their versatility, these companies aren’t direct competition for absolutely everything.
On the other, both sites give businesses and individuals alike the ability to sell goods and services through them. Selling on Amazon and eBay can be highly competitive all on its own, since pretty much anybody can do it.
E-commerce Myth 4: It’s too much work
One particularly persistent e-commerce myth is that it will take up all your time.
It’s true that there’s a lot to think about when you’re starting an online business. The amount of work often feels intimidating.
Just getting all your products online can be prohibitive for some companies. If you have a small staff as it is, the prospect of spending hundreds of hours manually entering products and configuring prices can seem totally unrealistic.
And that’s not even factoring in orders, invoices, and inventory and customer management. All this data entry adds up to a considerable amount of work very quickly. And the more orders you get, the more quickly it adds up.
The reality: By choosing an ERP-integrated e-commerce solution, you eliminate literally all of your data entry problems.
ERP integration automates all of the routine business processes that involve copying and transmitting data. It sends product, price, customer, order, and invoice data back and forth between your web store and your ERP, getting everything done in a fraction of the time while eliminating the possibility of human error.
This means that even small companies can get an online channel up and running smoothly without placing any additional burdens on their staff or having to hire new people.