Let’s get this out of the way: Not all businesses need an eCommerce website.
What does that mean, exactly? An eCommerce site is a website that is built to enable online transactions. Amazon.com is an eCommerce website; BBC.com is not.
Here at Synchronicity, we offer web design services for manufacturers and dozens of other kinds of businesses. We’re asked a lot about whether we think ecommerce sites are necessary, and at the end of the day it’s a question always answered on a case-by-case basis. That said, some manufacturers can absolutely benefit from the value-adds of eCommerce. Here are a few of the determining factors we use to decide whether or not to go the eCommerce route.
Your Business Might Need eCommerce Capability If…
Your company trades in “fast” service. Some manufacturers spend weeks prototyping products; some keep hundreds of materials in stock that can easily be shipped out on-demand. If your business prides itself in offering quick service to informed customers, eCommerce is a smart way to serve that goal better.
You want to expand the business. The best feature of digital marketing is its scope. Offering eCommerce services to a wider audience is a great way to quickly build your book of business and collect customer information for future marketing efforts such as email campaigns. If you want to grow, eCommerce can be a shortcut.
You want to give customers more control. Maybe you earned your reputation in manufacturing by providing advice and consulting services along with a great product. To grow, you’ll likely need to stratify your business offerings and allow some customers to be in-and-out. For the clients who still need customized product or hands-on training, eCommerce isn’t a fit. For the ones who know what they need and want the best price? That’s a market your eCommerce website can serve.
Your Business Probably Won’t Benefit from eCommerce If…
Your stock-and-trade is customization. Does your business set itself apart in a crowded sector of manufacturing by offering unbeatable service, full customization, and/or prototyping? Those aren’t the kind of services that generally translate well to an eCommerce platform. Instead, focus your website on converting leads. Customers aren’t filling up a shopping cart on your site but they are learning just enough about your differentiators that they pick up the phone and call or submit an online form.
Like any market, the manufacturing space has businesses of all shapes and sizes. Some companies want to go global, hoping to be found and patronized by thousands of clients the world over. Others are satisfied with developing deep, lasting relationships with a handful of specialized clientele, staying small enough to provide unparalleled quality.
Your business goals should drive the plan for your website.