The decision to launch an e-commerce website is no small choice and typically can’t be made without some serious thought as to what your business would need.
So, now that you’ve got a little bit of background about what goes into a full e-commerce website, we can start to think about if it is the right choice for you.
While we can’t give you an exact “yes” or “no” answer because it depends so heavily on your business and your customers, we can give you some things to help you identify if e-commerce might be the right next step.
There are some indicators that make it almost a no-brainer to launch into e-commerce.
While you can get really creative with e-commerce solutions, especially if you build a custom solution, there are some indicators that e-commerce may not be a fit (or just really complex to build and manage).
Now, here’s where things can get fun and creative. You may find yourself somewhere in between being a fit for e-commerce and it being really difficult to achieve. If that’s you, consider how you can make life easier for your customer by removing tension from the purchase process
There are great lessons learned from the experience on an e-commerce website that can be used on non-e-commerce sites — without launching a full e-commerce solution.
Here are some great examples that can get you thinking about what this might look like for you.
You may not be able to go the full step to selling your products on your website, but you can always allow people to search, view, and learn about your products in a way that feels like an e-commerce experience.
The team at Critical Process Filtration does just this on its website. Purchasing from them requires an application process before any sales can be made, so direct e-commerce is pretty tough. But they do a great job providing information about all the products they offer in a user-friendly, searchable way for people who are considering buying or requesting a quote.
Another common approach is to get people as close to the final step of purchase as possible. This can be achieved by building calculators or tools that help people narrow down their options so they know exactly what they should be purchasing. The final step of this process will require them to speak to someone before actually purchasing, but it gets visitors almost all of the way to the finish line.
This is where Self-Configuration tools really shine.
Venture Pact, a company that does custom app design, does this with their pricing calculator. It allows the user to detail out everything they need from a project so they actually get an indication of final price. The last step is simply to talk with a person to confirm all the pieces of the project.
The sky is really the limit. While these examples help give you an idea of the ways other companies have mimicked the e-commerce experience to create great features on their non-e-commerce websites, they are by no means an exhaustive list.
Take a look at the most popular e-commerce websites like Amazon and see what they are doing to make it easier, faster, and more fun to interact with their website. There’s no reason you can’t create a great experience based on these examples even if you don’t build a full e-commerce website.