How can you use the Internet to grow your business and expand into new markets? To answer this question, BDC conducted a survey of almost 1,500 Canadian entrepreneurs. Read the entire Expand Online study here.
BDC’s Philippe Desjardins, who specializes in helping entrepreneurs with their digital strategies, says companies that have e-commerce websites generally see their revenues increase within two years.
“Most of the time you end up selling in markets that you never thought you could get a foothold in,” says Desjardins, Business Advisor with BDC Advisory Services.
Companies that don’t have websites usually see their sales stagnate and many have seen their revenues dip in the last three years, he adds. Desjardins offers these five tips for building an e-commerce website.
1. Understand your clientele
Who is your target market? Brainstorm about what your customers need from your e-commerce site. “You really need a strategy for what you want to sell online. Make sure what you are selling will bring you a profit,” he says. “Nobody is forced to sell online at a loss.”
2. Get the expertise you need
Hire a professional web agency to build your site. Make sure you know what the calls to action will be on your website.
“Hire a professional copywriter for your content. Information about product descriptions, images and specifications needs to be precise,” Desjardins says.
3. Choose your currency strategy
You can list the price in Canadian or U.S. dollars and the payment processor will make the exchange rate conversion.
Or, you can list your prices only in U.S. dollars, a currency that is understood internationally. Another solution is to open bank accounts in multiple local currencies and convert when currency rates are favourable.
4. How much is shipping?
Shipping is a big part of a consumer’s choice, but it must make financial sense for you. “You can’t sell items at a loss because you have a blanket policy of free shipping for over $150 on purchases.” Don’t let consumers take advantage of your return policy. For example, a consumer can order seven products over $100 to get free shipping and then send six of them back.
5. Take the time to get it right
Building an e-commerce website can take six months to a year. If you rush the launch of your e-commerce site and provide a bad customer experience, it will take more time and money to fix it, Desjardins says. “The key to success is not to jump in and do everything as quickly as you can.”
Posted on July 18, 2019
In Partnership with BDC