6 hidden costs of running an ecommerce site
- Oct 20, 2020 | Brightpearl
There are obvious costs that come with getting an ecommerce website up and running. To keep it working successfully, there are also ongoing expenses. If you’re not expecting these, they can feel like hidden costs.
Here are six hidden costs to consider when setting up an ecommerce site.
1. Build your website
Consumers want intuitive, straightforward experiences. Easy navigation is essential, as are good descriptions and pictures.
Source: Clutch 2018 Consumer UK Survey
How you build your website affects overall costs and options:
- Fully automated online website builder: the cheapest but most inflexible option
- Content Management System (CMS): comparatively cheap while allowing for more control
- Build from scratch: expensive to build and maintain but affords the most precision
Automation tools and plug-ins frequently add to overall costs. It’s critical to be aware of all possible associated costs for these in order to factor them into your budget plan.
Design and branding are impactful parts of any business, so it may be worth paying a designer to create banners, campaigns, or logos. A recent study found that 83% of respondents think it’s important for businesses to have a beautiful and updated website; it affects how consumers feel about companies.
2. Set up multiple channels
Integrating multiple channels into your ecommerce business can boost sales and help retain customers. A recent study found that omnichannel sellers retain 89% of their customers, as opposed to 33% for companies with “weak omnichannel customer engagement.”
Source: Marketing Charts
Handling sales across multiple channels requires using the right tools to manage orders. Edge computing can aid your omnichannel experience, too, as it allows customers to switch effortlessly between channels. It offers minimized latency, translating to almost immediate message delivery and quick collection of data. It's an easy way for retail businesses to optimize and bring value to customers and their own company.
3. Remember tax and compliance
Paying tax is an inevitable part of running an ecommerce business. This doesn't have to be a daunting task, as long as you prepare for it. Make sure your business is tax compliant right from the outset.
Your ecommerce store needs to be able to handle all the complexities of sales tax compliance. By spending time setting this up correctly at the start, you'll save yourself issues later on.
Taking advantage of available tax deductions can also have a significant impact, so make sure you're caught up on all of these.
4. Ensure smooth orders and delivery
How well your business manages inventory can contribute hugely to its success or failure, but managing inventory can be overwhelming, at least at first. Tools like order management software can help.
Track the status of your orders at every step in the process. Tap into the power of inventory visibility to improve item data management. This will result in more automation, higher order volume, and inventory reduction. Retail inventory management software can be a useful tool to invest in, too. It gives you a centralized view of your operations and helps to automate many processes.
5. Answer the phone
No matter how well you design your website and manage orders, there will still be questions.
Setting up a customer service team comes with the costs of hiring and training staff. It also requires investing in additional software and hardware to enable customer support. Thankfully, automated omnichannel contact center solutions provide customer support and allow continuity across channels.
It’s key to offer streamlined customer service options. Most consumers report frustration with having to repeat their issue to multiple representatives. This can be mitigated through creating a strong and consistent customer experience across all channels.
6. Understand your customers
Collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data allows you to understand your customers and business. This is an area you must not neglect.
Offering post-purchase surveys can be a great way to show customers you value their opinion. Without a feedback program, interactions with customers are necessarily limited. You'll likely only deal with customers personally when they return an item or complain.
It’s also important to pay attention to online reviews, as companies with consistently high reviews are better able to grow organically through referrals. More than ever, customers are taking to public forums to share their experiences and opinions. Replying to reviews allows you to communicate with customers and indicates superior customer service. It also shows you care and are willing to take constructive feedback to heart.
While some costs related to setting up an ecommerce site are obvious, hidden costs can add up. Knowing what to expect can help you create an ecommerce site that runs smoothly and brings in sales. And if you do these things well, you might just land your company in a coveted spot as one of the best online retailers.