Periodically I speak to entrepreneurs that are failing in their ecommerce business. These entrepreneurs usually blame everyone but themselves, they will blame their staff, web design firms, seo firms, the shopping cart platform, the competition, etc. You name a reason to blame, and I’ve heard it.
Now the chances are if this entrepreneur failed, while spending a thousand or even several thousand dollars they will not be trying to do anything online anytime soon, if ever.
Maybe they are in a dying niche which is impossible to compete in, but that is usually not the case. If there are small business (including eBay and Amazon sellers) in your niche who are succeeding, than your niche is alive and well.
My explanation from a big picture point of view on why they are failing is simple:
1) They had the wrong perception from the very beginning on what it will take to succeed. I show you a MindMap chart that you need to follow in order to see succeed, and you need it really understand all the people that need to be involved to make it happen, Employee Chart, and Video Explaining it.
2) They had an idea what it will take, but they failed to execute all the factors. You can watch the video here to see details about what factors I am talking about
There will always be the top players in every niche, and usually they are at the top because they found a game changing factor that no one else found.
MAIN EXCUSE FROM ENTREPRENEURS WITH PHYSICAL STOREFRONTS: I HAVE A PHYSICAL STORE AND I DONT NEED AN ECOMMERCE WEBSITE
Now my biggest fear for entrepreneurs who have a physical store is not only did they arrive late for the train, but they are jumping off early because they think they don’t need to be on it. Half way on the train, they think eCommerce is some kind of internet fad that will not affect them in anyway.
Store owners are so busy with their store, that they don’t have time to go to the bathroom, forget about trying to implement the factors I talk about that they need to succeed.
These are the same store owners, who thought they can just pay to host a turn key website, hire a web designer and their website will somehow succeed on a nationwide level on its own without any further interaction. It would be great if it worked but as economics dictates that almost never happens.
You might read the above paragraph and say to yourself, they are delusional idiots for thinking like that. I thought about it, and I don’t think they are idiots or delusional. If they were an idiot they wouldn’t be able to succeed with their local storefront, and thus they wouldn’t even be thinking about expanding online, and they were not delusional, they were simply misinformed. Afterall, they believed enough in this idea that they invested into it because they had something to base it off.
I believe the issue is that the store owner underestimates the size of the internet. They think a local business with a local website can easily penetrate nationwide competitors that are already in the market.
Entrepreneurs with local businesses need to think more local instead of nationwide. If you have a website on Shopping Cart Elite on a nationwide level, you can look good, but you are competing with other good looking companies like Tirerack, eBay, Amazon, CarId, or any other competitor that spends a minimum of $30,000 and up per month in ads. If you have a website on Shopping Cart Elite on a local level, chances are you have ZERO competition. Every competitor website locally will look like a joke compared to your website.
Your local customers visiting your website will be impressed by how much you invested into making your website work, and you will win business that way. In fact, I think you should take local so seriously, that you should not even accept orders that are outside of your tristate area. Make your shipping PICK UP only and reject orders!. This will make it easier for you to focus and not get distracted by wishful thinking that you can somehow enter nationwide competition overnight.
FOUR REASONS WHY YOUR LOCAL BUSINESS ARE GOING EXTINCT UNLESS THEY DO ECOMMERCE
1) SAME DAY DELIVERY - Amazon entered the nationwide eCommerce market in 2000, by 2005 they changed the industry 180 degrees. They started slowly wiping out small ecommerce businesses, by 2010, they penetrated many industries causing major losses for small businesses. Most popular products are available via Amazon Fulfillment, which offers guaranteed 2nd day FREE delivery, customer reviews, and everything else that needs to happen to close a sale.
In 2012, Amazon has declared WARon local small businesses and has been quietly aligning their troops to attack.
What am I talking about here?
FREE SAME DAY DELIVERY, yes you heard it right. You can order something on Amazon today, and get it TODAY!. That is the plan, and they are going to make it happen. Amazon is opening hundreds of fulfillment centers in major cities to roll out same day service everywhere, read more here.
What does this mean for you?
Your local business up to today enjoyed face to face customer interaction and buy now, get it now service. But, what happens if the customer doesn’t even have to get off his lazy behind, have a better product selection, better buying decisions using reviews, and get it whatever they want at a cheaper price the same day. What is that going to do to your business?
I bet you that it will hit you in the face with a brick at 100MPH. I bet that you will see 50% decline immediately and die a slow death. How are you going to protect yourself from this business model?
Google Shopping is the answer to fight Amazon Same Day Business Model. Google Shopping is allowing local business to submit their product feeds alongside of Amazon and when local users search for a product they want to buy. If the product is available locally, Google Shopping will showcase YOUR PRODUCT FROM YOUR WEBSITE and NOTIFY THE USER IT IS INSTOCK IN THEIR LOCAL AREA IF THEY BUY IT FROM YOU.
This is how you will fight it, by having an eCommerce website on Shopping Cart Elite and loading up your Google Shopping feed and telling Google to display your product to local customers.
2) MOBILE RESEARCH - Local business exercise a business model called ROBO (Research Online, Buy Offline). I just recently became a heavy mobile shopper. Just yesterday, my back was killing me, and I needed to get a massage cushion. While on my bathroom break (yes I had to go there), I went on Amazon and saw they had the cushion. It was Sunday, and I had to have it now, I couldn’t wait for Amazon’s delivery. So I went on Google Shopping and saw that Bed & Bath was advertising it locally. I went on their website, and when I added it to Shopping Cart it asked me if I want to pick it up. I said, Yes, and it told me which store had it in stock. I placed an order online with Pickup as my shipping choice and got it an hour later.
Second example, when we needed something for the house, I would usually tell my wife that we need and put it on the list. NO MORE! Using the Amazon Mobile App on my iPhone, when I need something, I take my phone out, search for what I need and with one click of a button I have it in two days. I LOVE IT,and I ordered the stupidest stuff too, rubber bands, bounty, toilet paper, cleaners, baby stuff, hose tips, I mean you name it and I bought it. I even buy things that cost $0.50 on there and guess what, I GET FREE 2ND DAY SHIPPING EVEN ON $0.50 items. Yes, I am sure Amazon loses money on that stuff at the end of the day, but that is how they roll.
3) BRANDING AND FIRST IMPRESSIONS - I am not the youngest generation that started interacting with mobile, and I already think the same way they do. When I visit a local business website, and they either don’t have a website or look amateurish I look at them like a joke. I am not even kidding, I see this business as out of touch and I usually don’t bother dealing with them.
For example, http://www.wheelconceptsnation.com/, this is a big local wheel and tire store who I am not even kidding drops tens of thousands of dollars to advertise in car shows. He has exotic cars parked in front of the shop, Ferraris, Lamborghinis, he take the whole car crew to SEMA Show. He wanted to come up as WEST COAST CUSTOMS in East Coast. Then you go to look at his website, and he looks like a pig with lipstick (lipstick being his work, and pig being his website). I even approached him about it, and he thought there was nothing wrong with his website and he didn’t need one that looks like his main competitor. SERIOUSLY??? Did you see your competitor website? Here, it is http://www.westcoastcustoms.com/shop/ and http://www.westcoastcustoms.com
If you want to cater to todays young generation, you need to understand their lifestyle, and how they interact with today’s businesses.
I am so used to ordering online and picking up locally that I am seriously afraid for businesses that fail to understand this. This is why I get so emotional about getting it through my clients head if they have a local storefront.
Can you believe that everything I bought today, was interacted with online.
I will tell you one last story, I wanted to get some Burgers for lunch, and I was considering two places. Outback Steakhouse and a local restaurant called Nove who has amazing Burgers.
Now my buying decision was based on one thing, I am on the computer right now, and I DO NOT WANT TO PICK UP THE PHONE AND CALL TO ORDER IT. I didn’t even have my phone in front of me, and I refused to get up and look for it. I wanted to go to a website, order my food online and pick it up.
So I tried Nove first (http://noveitalianbistro.com) and guess what? They have a nice website with NO ONLINE ORDERING! I then went to http://www.outback.com/, BINGO they got ONLINE ORDERING. The online ordering system seems like a third party, which has a horrible user interface, and I think outback should drop them ASAP and build their own, but it did the job. I placed an order with the burger that I wanted, and it gave me a pickup number plus the time I should pick it up. I drove up to Outback, a lady saw my car, came out handed me my burgers, and I left (They only offer pickup).
4) FINALLY - How did I find all of these places? Using Google, specifically Google Maps / Places ON MY IPHONE. My iPhone is defaulted to search locally by default. There is so many opportunities for local stores to advertise locally that you can literally get dozens if not hundreds of new customer coming to you every week.
When I go to the mall, supermarket, movie theater, or just driving on rush hour, I look at all the people around and I realize this is A LOT OF PEOPLE, who I can do business with if I had a local business.
Some of these people can be potential customers for local businesses in their area, but they might not even know that a certain business exists because they are too busy with their lives to look.
I experienced it all the time, when I find a local park (where they charge for parking), a really good restaurant or cafe (happens all the time), a cool store (like FiveBelow), etc.
YOU NEED TO ADVERTISE LOCALLY, AND THERE IS NO BETTER WAY THEN TO DO IT WITH GOOGLE, YELP, CRAIGSLIST, ETC. AND HAVE A FUNCTIONAL, AMAZING LOOKING WEBSITES, THAT YOU DRIVE YOUR LOCAL TRAFFIC TO IT.
I am 27 years old, and I already act the way I do with ecommerce and local businesses. Can you imagine how today’s 15 year old kids will behave when they are 20, in just five years? How about ten years? How will that affect your business then?
Maybe you think Internet is a Fad and Online eCommerce doesn’t work. Maybe you are right it is a bit too early for it as the youngest generation can’t have their own credit cards yet. Believe me when I say, this will not last forever and when it does happen, and your not on board, it will be too late, and you will be looking at bankruptcy papers instead of how much to invest into your ecommerce website.
Your clock is ticking, and the sooner you can figure out your ecommerce strategy (even if it doesnt work today), the better off you will be in the next five years.
P.S. Amazon Same Day Delivery Service will be rolled out by 2013 - 2014, and Google Shopping Local Product Advertising is rolled out TODAY!