For businesses seeking new routes to market, adding ecommerce functionality to a website is a no-brainer! Standard brochure sites may have been the norm twenty years ago, but today’s internet users expect an all-in-one experience with the option to order products directly.
In this guide, we’ll explore some of the problems with brochure sites, and look at the best way to integrate ecommerce functionality – or even switch to a dedicated ecommerce system.
If you already have a simple brochure site, then you’ve probably discovered that it has several weaknesses:
- Poor Customer Experience
Once, customers only associated ecommerce with the big beasts of the digital world; nowadays, so many small, local businesses sell online, that if yours doesn’t, then you’re simply not delivering the experience your customers expect.
- Limited Reach
Many brochure sites are designed to tempt buyers to visit a local shop. This approach is extremely limiting, since customers beyond about ten or twenty miles are automatically excluded from buying.
- Poor Conversions
While brochure sites can showcase a company’s products, there’s no way to buy online, leading to a gap between the decision to buy, and the act of doing so. That gap provides opportunities for potential customers to be tempted away by a competitor; as a result, conversions are driven down.
Luckily, ecommerce websites offer an alternative, and add a valuable revenue stream for businesses willing to embrace the model. Next, we’ll look at the ways your company could take this step…
Is your website a WordPress website? If so, then integrating the WooCommerce plugin is a relatively straightforward way to move from a brochure site to a fully-fledged ecommerce website. There’s no need to migrate to a rival platform, since WooCommerce is purpose built to seamlessly add this extra ecommerce functionality.
WooCommerce fully meets the needs of the vast majority of small businesses – but it isn’t the only option available. If you’re planning a large online store, then it could be time to bite the bullet, and move to a CMS developed from the ground up for ecommerce. Which brings us to…
Ready for the big switch? If ecommerce is at the heart of your business aims, then making the switch over to Magento could be the perfect option. Clearly, moving between platforms isn’t for everyone, and you’ll need to take the time to assess where your priorities lie. These questions should help:
Are you just trialling ecommerce, to see if it takes off?
Are you going to sell just a few products?
Will your bricks-and-mortar operations continue to be your main focus?
If you answered ‘yes’ to these questions, then moving to a dedicated ecommerce CMS (like Magento) could be a step too far. But if the switch to ecommerce is central to your future ambitions, then making a full-blooded commitment will maximise your chances of success.
Whichever path you choose, you’ll face a clear choice between tackling the development yourself, or bringing onboard a professional ecommerce website developer. There’s no single right approach for every business owner – but these questions should help add clarity to your thoughts:
What’s your budget?
How much time do you have available?
Are you capable of handling the development?
If you have more cash than time, then hiring a WooCommerce or Magento developer is the only logical way to go. Likewise, if you’re unsure of your abilities, then it makes sense to bring a professional onboard.
The Future is Ecommerce
Moving into ecommerce is a big step for any business, but it’s also one of the best ways to expand and embrace the future of retail. With the right support, it’s possible to minimise the hard work, risks and hassles, while maximising the benefits.