Ecommerce retailers can get caught in a sell and ship mentality. Ignore your customers at your peril.
Ecommerce retail offers huge advantages, most of which center around avoidance of the headaches of running a physical store.
You don’t have to staff the hours. You don’t have to display inventory.
And you don’t have to deal with shoppers face-to-face.
It sometimes seems that eCommerce is the domain of introverts. The digital divide creates a barrier that people think will keep them from having to interact with their customers.
The e-commerce website is seen as sales automation. It’s marketing, sales, and fulfillment all in one.
The worst of these business “hermits” don’t even put a phone number on their website. They figure the site will do it all.
This is a mistake that can put you out of business.
Online shoppers love the convenience of online shopping. It let’s them browse a giant, online product selection while seated. They expect to – and find – great deals. Products get shipped right to their door.
But this consumer utopia will be disrupted. Payment gateways suddenly refuse to work. Coupon codes aren’t accepted. User ID’s don’t recognize.
And the size is wrong. This is f%^*ing pink! I ordered black! It’s bent, broken, or bruised. It’s late. You sent it to me, it’s supposed to go to my Grandma!
In other words, things go wrong. Suddenly, the website shipping and returns page isn’t enough. You need to service your customers.
You might exchange some emails, but when these situations arise the best ecommerce businesses get on the phone and work things out quickly. You only have so much time before irate Yelp reviews and comments on Facebook start to do real damage.
The truth is you need a business phone number prominently displayed on your website. You need office hours when people know they can contact a human being.
Make sure you can provide that contact. If all this sounds like something you’re trying to escape, consider whether you’re really the type of person who should be running an ecommerce business.