17 Sep Can I afford a new E-Commerce Solution?
Now you’re asking the real questions.
The answer revolves around weighing the gains of implementing a new ecom system against the overall cost.
Looks can be deceiving, but in this instance it’s clear to see:
B2B and B2C e-commerce are having a positive impact on the apparel industry.
According to Business of Fashion, apparel is the fastest growing e-commerce category in the US, at an estimated $41 billion; only falling behind consumer electronics in overall consumption.
Organizations that have already transitioned to e-commerce have seen tremendous gains in a short period of time. For example, Carter’s—a children’s apparel manufacturer—saw its e-commerce sales skyrocket by 50% in Q3 of 2013.
Part of the reason e-commerce drives so many sales?
Customers are given more shopping options. E-commerce extends user browsing capability – taking what one was a brick and mortar sale and making it mobile.
Your clients crave options. We know in-store shopping experiences will never go away, but with the introduction of online shopping, your playing field is expanded to include additional customer touch points.
The modern shopping experience involves starting, pausing, and continuing a purchases at your leisure. Instead of being confined to finalize transactions in a store or through a web browser, new e-commerce capabilities merge the sides through different channels allowing shoppers to leave and return to their cart over a period of time.
How you can compete in the global market place:
As the e-commerce market keeps growing, global retail e-commerce sales for small and mid-sized businesses are expected to rise about 20%—the competition has become even stiffer between vendors targeting the mid-market sector.
With the changes that have flooded the apparel industry, having a robust e-commerce solution that can streamline processes—from sales to supply chain, delivery, and maintenance thereafter—has never been more critical.
You need a solution that offers:
- Real-time inventory by warehouse
- Automation of the creation, categorization, and organization of new products
- Orders automatically load into the back office for efficient order fulfillment
- Real-time displays of order statuses and direct link to carrier tracking numbers
What you need to consider when shopping for your new e-commerce:
It’s true. You don’t want something that will break the bank; you want a solution that offers you the tools you need, while also being scaled to your needs.
So you might consider using a third party like Etsy or Ebay. Highly established, easy to use, and open to the public – these solutions allow you to operate a “store” to sell your goods within their already existing marketplace. The cost to your business is low – however you are then setting yourself up to compete against vendors who may be selling a similar product at a greater discount.
Maybe you’d like to try your hand at something a little more independent. Site builders like Weebly and WordPress offer plugins that allow users to operate a store out of their page. Lower in cost than some other solutions – these options allow you greater control over your site and the content you display. The biggest drawback to these solutions hit larger companies the hardest. An inability to tie in to your ERP and WMS systems means that you’ll need someone to perform updates regularly, and requires duplication of information.
All of these pose problems:
How do you ensure an order received is shipped? How do you make certain that inventory levels are accurate? And how do you keep track items in your supply chain?
The best solution; choose a provider that is capable of tying all of your systems together.
Enterprise e-commerce systems are built for real businesses. Designed to tie in all of your existing systems; you’ll be able to breath easy knowing that customers ordering from around the world receive the same level of service – day or night. The only downside is that a fully developed e-commerce solution is the most expensive option – making it the choice of mid to large scale businesses.