launching your online store

Is your manufacturing website ready for e-commerce?

So you’re a manufacturing company, and you’ve decided it’s time to add e-commerce to your website. Bold move!

We generally recommend that if you’re manufacturing a product, you also sell it. For one thing, it helps convert sales when your visitors don’t have to navigate onto an entirely new site. And for another, it builds credibility with your consumer base to see that you’re established enough to be selling your product. How you go about selling may depend on your actual circumstance, but we covered that earlier. For now, let’s say you’re ready to move ahead with e-commerce. What should you check before you launch?

1. Does your store work on mobile devices?

People shop from their phones. A lot. You do it, I do it, and if your store doesn’t offer it, you’re going to lose sales. This is basic functionality that you should absolutely have in place before you launch e-commerce.

2. Have you included all the key info on your product page?

Consumers these days—especially those on the web—are savvy folk. They do their research, and they want to know a lot about your product before they buy. This means you need to have clear and thorough descriptions on all your products. This includes features, dimensions, materials, technical specifications, and basically anything else you could imagine someone wanting to know about your product.

3. Do you allow customer reviews?

Whether or not you like customer reviews is beside the point: your customers expect to see them, and they expect to be able to leave them. Not displaying the on your site and failing to provide a way for users to send them in can damage your credibility.

4. What about returns?

Do you have a return policy? Is it easy to find? Is it written in plain, comprehensible English? Maybe you don’t allow items to be returned because of their highly-customized nature, or because you only ship in bulk quantities, or for any other legitimate reason: that’s fine! For many respected and successful businesses, their return policy is: no returns. Only phrased nicer than that. Just make sure you have something, and that it is positioned where users can find it.

5. How’s your shipping and handling?

A lot of folk leave items in their cart and never complete their purchase once they see the cost of shipping and handling. Maybe you manufacture large equipment, or maybe you’re shipping overseas: whichever it is, if you have larger-than-expected shipping and handling fees, provide an explanation. And if there isn’t a good one, find a way to make your fees more competitive.

All your boxes checked? Then go forth and launch.

Published 07/22/16 by Laura Lynch