[Image Source: Shopify]
Whether you have a business consulting or accounting firm, a gym, a beauty salon or a housekeeping business, you can sell your services online to grow your business and boost sales. A lot of customers in this day in age are searching for services online and turn to the web over traditional advertising to find it, so why not capitalise on that? By making your services available on an online store, there is the potential to put your service-based business in front of thousands of people!
Benefits of eCommerce for service based businesses
Lower start up cost
One of the biggest benefits of starting a service based business is the low start up cost. Selling physical products involves finding storage such as a store front and/or warehouse, sourcing and manufacturing of products and then regular stock-taking to ensure you have enough stock to sell and meet overheads – this all takes a lot of money, time and energy! For a service based business there are much smaller overheads, production and start up costs, leaving you with more budget to invest in your eCommerce store build and ongoing marketing to get your business out there.
Generating more awareness for your business
The great thing about starting an online store for your service based business is the ability to generate more awareness for your business online. Sometimes service based businesses are often restricted to their location, whereas if you’re offering your services online there are no geographical restrictions. This allows you conduct business internationally and offer subscription based models such as eBooks, online programs, live coaching sessions via video conference, etc.
Modernising your sales process
Having an online store could really simplify your sales process! Gone are the days of cold calling, door knocking, appointment setting and driving to meeting after meeting chasing leads. Your service offerings can readily be available online, presented in a professional and effective way, allowing visitors to retrieve information in bite size pieces so they’re able to make a decision to buy when they’re ready. Ecommerce platforms such as Shopify and BigCommerce also integrate a sales system so you’re able to track your sales easily and generate the appropriate sales reports for bookkeeping purposes.
Fulfilment and flexibility
Other benefits of an eCommerce store for service based businesses is the fulfilment and flexibility! You will have more control over how you deliver your services, you can see your return on investment and see exactly what service is generating the most revenue as well as what areas need improving. You can run an eCommerce store from anywhere in the world with no opening and close times, generating income while you sleep! A service is also more adaptable than a product based business, you can adjust and tailor your service to suit your market.
Challenges of ecommerce for service based businesses
We are the the first to admit starting a business is hard work and involves careful planning to offer your business online and like anything worth investing your time and money, there will be challenges, but nothing an intuitive, well thought out and well designed online store can’t overcome.
See our tips below on how to overcome some of these perceived challenges.
Tips on running a successful service based ecommerce store
Study the market
Be sure to study your competition and check industry standards, including how they are doing their marketing, how your consumers are looking for services like yours, and of course pricing. This is a great opportunity to do a SWOT analysis!
Commoditise your services by offering packages or bundles
Track the time and understand the resources involved to actually deliver your service. You can list out all of your costs and core services, however we recommend offering a package or bundle deal to help potential customers realise the value of your service. This may be in the form of a retainer or subscription pricing model.
Choose a hosted platform for your online store
We are big advocates of using SaaS platforms like Shopify or BigCommerce for eCommerce stores as they are hosted ecommerce solutions and as a result offer a range of benefits as well as peace of mind. Hosted solutions offer you the highest standard of security which minimises the risks of malware and fraudulent activity, their payment gateway systems to process payments are always compliant and up to date, these platforms are also designed to enable simple sales tracking. A reliable, secure online store instills trust in your customers which will make them confident to purchase with you.
Have a realistic budget for marketing too
While it’s really important to have a well built Commerce store, we recommend you make sure you also have a budget for marketing. Once you’ve done your research on where your dream clients will come from, a targeted marketing campaign is essential to your success. Unfortunately the adage ‘build and they will come’ does not often apply to the digital world.
Utilise your skills & outsource when needed
Some service based business owners believe they can run their business themselves as a one person operation. This is very much the case for a lot of freelancers, however if you’re wanting to scale your business, you will want to consider how your time is best spent in the business. Focus on your strengths and maximising the worth you bring to the business and perhaps identify other areas of your business where it worth investing in. These areas can include administration, bookkeeping, logistics, and marketing! Do the work you are great at and outsource the rest, you will find that working in a team will drive motivation and inspiration which in return delivers higher quality work and success.
At BA Creative we like to work with our clients as partners. We work collaboratively to drive successful outcomes whether it be a branding, website or digital marketing project. We want to drive business growth and really make an impact, hence we always encourage a long term partnership. As certified experts of Shopify and BigCommerce, it is evident that our team has a collective of skills to help bring your service based business to life online! So what are you waiting for? Start your ecommerce store today!