"We need a webshop". Or, from the seller's point of view: "You need a webshop".
To say it flat, this has unfortunately been marketing gossip and salespeople language since 1998.
From the beginning of the commercial internet in about 1995 to about 1998 ... maybe until about 2002, that was absolutely correct. Businesses need a website (you still need them today). And if you sell (sold) real goods or repetitive services, also a webshop.
Today all of this hardly applies anymore. First eBay a little, then Amazon under Jeff Bezos, not only turned the stationary trade inside out, but also the entire shopping behavior in many parts of the world in general.
To check this statement, all you need to do is observe or question yourself and your circle of friends.
What do you need a webshop for?
Let's go through the possible options.
To win new customers
That is definitely the main task of a web shop. In B2B, i.e. business customer relationships.
Why? A buyer (this is where the difference to the end customer lies) needs a certain part for his operations. In the past there were complete reference works on paper (for the younger ones: something like a tablet, but without battery and WiFi) with the name "Who delivers what". A veteran of these printing works. Disappeared in paper form in the insignificance, but still present as a website with completely new functions and services!
But: How do you find suppliers today? Just think for yourself what you want to do, e.g. if you are a grocery store and want to include USB sticks in your range.
Or if you are a roofer and want to buy a new lift now.
Or, especially in 2020/2021, it was very topical: If you have to buy large quantities of cleaning agents, respiratory or face masks or corona rapid tests overnight. Be it for your own needs, be it for your customers (in the best case: both!).
What do you do? You google, right?
And with that you also have your hook.
As an end customer, this activity is divided up: You go directly to Amazon or Idealo. You may also go 90% to one of these two pages from a Google results page. For a few years now it has also been possible to present products directly via Google (“Google product page display”). That can look like this, for example:
Take the test with some of your products!
If “up” after “approximately” there is a number of over 10,000 (for toilet brushes: 98,600 in the example above), then you have a feeling for how unimportant your offer is from the perspective of the Internet. I'm sorry if that sounds very harsh and heartless, but we have to keep the facts in mind.
But: Google is still worth gold for special offers! Proof: You found my page here, probably in connection with Navision or Business Central and Shopware.
Therefore: If you offer more than just exchangeable products, a web shop is absolutely necessary in order to be perceived as a product provider or even a manufacturer. Especially in the B2B (Business To Business) business environment there is no alternative to a web shop to attract potential customers.
However, your webshop must then also delight the lucky finder! Attractive images, detailed descriptions, technical details, data sheets, explanations. The potential new customer must recognize at a glance that your product and you as the supplier are exactly what they are looking for!
Because: The next provider is maybe just a single click away! Please always keep in mind how you are looking for yourself on the Internet. You don't go to the individual links with empathy and say to yourself: "Oh, but he made an effort, I'll order it even though I'm not sure whether this is the product I am looking for".
Instead, they click the next link in the Google ad. And the other millions of Internet users are just as unemotional ... and end up ordering from Amazon. 🙂
For the B2C (Business To Customer = end customer) area with a few freely exchangeable mass products, your business plan should not be based solely on a web shop. In many (too many) cases this will not be profitable. Thousands of webshops are opened ... and deleted again every year.
And in between, a lot of money is invested in Google Adwords. Google has become a kind of gatekeeper without whom you remain invisible on the Internet. And: either Google likes you (they have a lot to offer for organic search = SEO (Search Engine Optimization) . Or Google ignores you (you appear in search results from the fourth page), then you are invisible.
Think about whether you have products with which you can sustainably (!) Win new customers. In this case, a web shop is a great advertising tool for you.
It is all the more important that you feed your webshop with the following:
- curious texts
- important decision parameters (= properties of your products)
- both technically and emotionally appealing product images.
Your customers probably like that. Thinks google. And therefore, Google loves you for it. That means: You get a prominent position in the Google search results.
This is exactly where I support you with a super easy-to-use product data maintenance in PIM (Product Information Management) directly in your Navision / Business Central interface - No matter in which version. Yes, also in the "old" Navision 2.01b, Navision Financials, Navision Dynamics up to the still state-of-the-art 2009R2 version.
And of course also in the Navision or Business Central RTC versions from 2013 via Navision NAV 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 to the ultra-modern Navision 2019 Spring Release version. There is currently no Extension / AL version, but I'm working on it. If you are interested in a Business Central shopware connection with PIM: Talk to me!
I offer very interesting conditions for my beta partner. However, there will only be one beta partner ... so: fast fast! 🙂
You can find more information here on the sub-pages for Shopware 5 and Shopware 6. But please remember: I only offer Shopware integration, SEO consulting and product launch in the Business Central & Navision environment, not stand-alone and not for others ERP systems.
If you don't have such products in your portfolio, a well-designed website where you can sell your most interesting products may be enough. And save yourself the money for a web shop.
While there were incredibly generous grants for it just in early 2021, this may just not be the way to go for you.
Record orders from existing customers
That was actually a really cool sales argument from 1998: “Let your customers enter their order in your shop system instead of typing in illegible order lists from outdated fax machines.
And: It worked!
Meanwhile, this is water under the bridge.
For this we only need to look again at 2 typical purchase processes from the buyer's point of view. Imagine you are the described buyer.
This is certainly the easiest to imagine: You are also a person in your private life (or a Google crawler, but he is not a potential customer for me). You want to buy "something", e.g. batteries, mouth and nose masks (in German: Mund-Nasenschutzmasken) („Munaske“), a body fat scale, living room lights, hard drives, ballpoint pens, etc ..
Pay attention to the deliberate omission of toilet paper and cars! Both will be bought on site at Edeka or at car dealers for a long time to come.
So ... what do you do if you want to buy something that you cannot find in the nearest supermarket and that can still be sent by parcel service?
I'll make a few suggestions:
- order from Amazon
- order on eBay (possibly via a Google search)
- research on Idealo or other price search engines (possibly also via a Google search)
- click on a “Google Shopping” entry marked as an ad in the Google search.
In many cases I will even have guessed in the correct order / weighting. If you find yourself on any of these points, you definitely already have an answer as to which direction to invest in.
But compare this again with your business products and put yourself in the shoes of another customer. If you offer high-tech hi-fi equipment, lighting technology or quad-copters ("drones"), you are no longer on the road in this mass market as you are with beer and toilet brushes.
Very important! Shopware (and thus Navision or Business Central) has excellent interfaces to Amazon, Idealo, eBay.
That means: Even if you yourself may come to the conclusion that your products are not sold through your own web shop, Navision or Business Central together with Shopware can become your cash cow and your dream team!
Now you are a customer again ... But this time you want to buy something for your business.
But then we have to differentiate again:
- You have a merchandise management system (ERP system, of course, preferably Business Central and Navision 🙂).
In this case you want to order as conveniently as possible. You create an order proposal listin your Business Central or Navision, press "Create orders" and the rest should go by itself. Then you don't care how the order gets to your supplier. Whether by EDI, by fax or by email, you as a buyer don't care at all.
But: You will definitely NOT type your purchase order by hand into a webshop at your supplier!!
-You do not have an inventory management system, which from my point of view is very regrettable, but quite possible.
Bartenders behind the counter, cleaning staff in shopping centers, mechanics, butchers or bakers ... you have much more important things to do than go to a computer when you need to (5 times a day), log into a web shop, look up your items order to press ...
You prefer to wait until the sales representative of your regular supplier comes to your company and dictate his needs directly into his tablet.
Or, if necessary, take the paper list from your home and yard supplier in the evening, fill it out by hand and fax it to him.
Well, in the worst case, take a photo of it and send it, in a very modern way, via Whatsapp photo together with a barely understandable voice message with other products. Let your supplier see how he gets this into his inventory management (of course, Navision or Business Central again ...).
As you can see, a web shop is practically unusable in both cases (business customer has ERP, business customer has no ERP).
This is a great way to win new customers (see first point) or to enable spontaneous purchases (see next point). But it is useless for existing customers. It is important that you are / become aware of this fact!
Every other promise made by windy webshop sellers is not worth the air with which it is made.
Here are your techniques:
- Fax (Brrrr ... something from 90s)
- E-Mail (brrr ... something of "beginning of the millennium")
- EDI (OK, also from the last millennium. But in general it is totally awesome when data that has already been entered in the computer is not retyped by hand, but is transferred directly from computer to computer, from merchandise management to merchandise management.)
– - APP… Yes exactly: There is nothing better for the craftsmen among your customers! If necessary, take your mobile phone out of your pocket for a short time, select an article from your own order record, press “Order”, that's it. Cell phone back in your pocket.
Allow impulse purchases
I am not assuming that the end customer was specifically looking for something. The first point on this list is responsible for this.
The point here is that you spontaneously and actively awaken a need in your - presumably new - customer.
YOU make sure that your customer wants to buy a bottle of rum, a tablet, a watch or a picture.
Save yourself every investment in Google Addwords here!
In principle, you can even save yourself all the work involved in SEO optimization! You don't get these impulse purchases through Google, because Google is a search-engine, not a suggestion-engine.
Need proof? How often have you clicked on "Good luck" in Google search? You don't even know what that is? See: Proof Complete. If you actually press this button every day: Ask the same question in your circle of friends.
So how do you get these impulse purchases then? Not entirely unimportant: You can also win returning customers this way! Or generally advised to interested customers to whom you can send further advertising! See also the first point of this list.
It's simple: social media!
Facebook, later on Whatsapp, Youtube. Your local advertising paper, your daily newspaper. Bus and gas station advertising. Billboards. Everything in which your products are presented to your future customer regardless of any activity.
You need to make purchasing your items as easy as possible for customers you reach. To do this, you absolutely need a very easy-to-use webshop that is also extremely easy to operate with a PC, tablet and mobile phone ... and that with standardized data. Because you don't want to maintain every article 3 times!
And here, as with new customer acquisition, a solid and easy-to-maintain web shop comes into play, with easy-to-configure landing pages. That brings us back to the backend, inventory management. The best, of course, is Navision & Business Central. And a modern, responsive (adapting itself to the target device) web shop, in the best case Shopware.
You can find both on the subpages belonging to this page for Navision / Business Central mit Shopware 5 and Navision or Business Central with Shopware 6 (This page is still under construction.).
However, this is not a sure-fire success. Your presentation needs to be chic and appealing. High quality product images, all the information a buyer needs at a glance. Additional information directly via downloadable data sheets directly from the landing page. If you cannot or do not want to offer your potential new customers this convenience, you do not need to invest any money in a Facebook or influencer campaign.
Now that you have opened a promising webshop - maybe with me? - it is time to think about the meaning.
Here I recommend this analytical approach:
- How much effort did you put into setting up this shop? - Time and money need to be assessed.
- How much coverage (not: sales!) Did you get with your shop WITH NEW CUSTOMERS? Old / existing customers do not count, they buy through every assigned shop.
- How is the influx of new customers and sales with them developing?
- That's really cool information!
I have already had customers who have sold a knife set or a grill through their shop, for example. Nice but not great. The customers were more important! There were really big beasts of European business among them. High-ranking directors, company owners.
With this foot in the door you can potentially initiate explosive follow-up business! “You bought toothpaste from us. May we make you an offer for toothpaste, shampoo and towels for your entire hotel chain? "
But even without this additional business, the development of shop sales can be observed closely.
Does radio advertising increase this? Did the last print campaign bring anything? Does it increase with Facebook advertising? Do the flyers or competitions included in the packages bring anything? Have I been able to convert new customers to existing customers? If these terms and activities are still "Bohemian Villages" : Here, too, I can provide advice and explanations. From over 15 years of web shop experience - from a technical and customer perspective. Not from the agency's point of view! That's a big difference. But: Everything only in connection with Business Central or Navision and Shopware from my hand.
- What kind of running costs do your shops, e.g. Adwords, cause you. A high amount of money for a Google advertisement is evidence of poor Google optimization of your shop. Instead, get my help. Caution! I am not writing your texts to you! But I'll show you what it takes.
- With the contribution margins, you can also include follow-up sales from new customers acquired through the shop. Because you would not have this (new) customer either if this new customer had not originally found you via your shop.
Do you need a webshop?
Principally yes, unless you are a One Product Show, so you have very few items with very little competition. Then a well-made website is enough for you, e.g. with WordPress.
If you need a webshop, however, you should keep in mind that it:
- is easy and easy to maintain, especially when it comes to text maintenance. If a typo in my text upset you, you will know what I mean.
- does not require constant maintenance. Stocks and prices should come directly from your inventory management system, texts, properties and images should be very easy to maintain.
The backend of web shops, regardless of whether this is Shopware, WooCommerce, Shopify, Wix.com (useless in Germany because of the name), Magento (Brrrr ...): none of this is fun there.
Simply take your beloved Navision / Business Centraland enter new articles and good texts there in seconds. Complete with images, properties, categories, product images ... everything!!
The easier this is, the more likely someone will just type in a text addition ... and thus support you with SEO.
- Actively relieves you of work. Orders from the web shop should come into your inventory management system, e.g. Business Central & Navision, completely automatically. But any other (Sage KHK SAP SAPone…) is also good.
- Makes your company look professional. Just think about eBay for the past 20 years ... Did that look modern? Fancy? Inspiring confidence?
I think ... oh well. just compare whether you prefer to shop on Amazon or on eBay.
Then you already have your answer.