On the face of it, e-commerce sounds like a great idea.
You build your website (or, preferably, get an expert to build it for you). You add the necessary online gizmos and gadgets. And then you sit back and wait for the money to roll in.
Except, of course, there’s just a little more to it than that…
Picture the scene in the run-up to Christmas. You’re up to your rapidly receding hairline in orders. The phone is ringing off the hook – all day (and, like as not, all evening as well). You barely have time to eat (in fact it’s better than a diet). And your team – if you have one – are far too busy picking, packing and sending off the orders to help you on the phone lines.
Enter Mrs Trellis. (Yes, that one. You may well have heard her ramblings on a certain Radio 4 panel game.)
Now Mrs Trellis is the nightmare beyond your imagining. Because she will waste more of your time than you ever thought possible. And the trouble is, she’s so nice about it…!
‘Ooh, I’m sorry, dear, I’m a bit new at this interweb thingy. I think I might have pressed the wrong button…’
‘So what were you trying to order, Mrs Trellis?’
‘Ooh. Erm. You know. One of those thingies. For the loo. I wanted one in orange. But I don’t want to be any trouble…’
‘Erm – what sort of ‘thingy’ exactly, Mrs Trellis?’
‘Well, I don’t know exactly what you call ’em. I think you had a picture of it somewhere. Or was that someone else that had it? Sorry, dear, I’m a bit confused…’
Well, you get the picture. Because this is the moment when your e-commerce telephone line becomes a hotline to the Samaritans.
And it doesn’t have to be like that.
E-commerce as it should be (with a little help from your friends)
How would it be if all your enquiries – including the four or five in succession from Mrs Trellis – were answered by someone else? Which would be someone with all the time – and patience – needed to deal with her and the many others like her. Someone you could trust, completely, with access to your system. Who could field all the queries and questions from customers who’ve hit a problem. Had a failed payment. Changed their mind about an order. Or want to treat you to a 20-minute rant about a failed delivery that turns out to be their own fault…
Would that change the picture?
Of course it would.
Now you can focus on the bit you do best – fulfilling those orders and getting them out of the door. You can keep an eye on those deliveries – and switch suppliers if there’s a particular company that’s always letting you down. Check out which products are moving, and which are stuck on the shelf.
In other words you can run your business instead of spending huge amounts of your precious time as a reluctant agony aunt. While knowing that any real problems will be reported back to you – with an understanding of how they arose, what you can do about it, and what your customer now expects.
So if that sounds like a good idea, talk to us. Because we do stuff like that all the time.