The figures which show the progression of e-commerce year after year are enough to make you dizzy! Rightly so, when we know that the increase planned by Kantar is 15.7% for 2020 alone . And again, these figures have not been updated since the coronavirus crisis which only amplified the phenomenon during the first half of this year.
Why sell on the internet?
In 2019, e-commerce crossed the symbolic milestone of 100 billion euros in France . Whether you sell B2B or B2C, the observation is the same: the growth of e-commerce is more and more significant year after year. So yes, it’s high time to get started if you still haven’t taken the plunge.
For what ? Quite simply because selling on the web allows you to reach a wider audience, and contrary to popular belief, greatly simplifies your sales processes.
In 2019, 30% of B2B buyers wanted to buy 90% of their products online . In the end, only 19% do so due to lack of offers. In B2C, the gap is less obvious because e-commerce is already well established, but this shows how urgent it is to digitalize if you want to sustain and grow your business.
The growth of e-commerce in the B2B market is estimated at 30% per year by Fevad. That is much more than the estimated overall growth of e-commerce in France, B2B and B2C combined!
When to get started?
Selling on the internet for a company that has never practiced online sales in many cases involves fundamentally shaking up the order established for many years. Experienced by managers as a source of stress and significant costs, the digitalization of the company is often postponed. However, many tools have emerged over the years, considerably simplifying the possibility of having an e-commerce site, and thus being able to sell your products online.
The right time to get started? It will probably never exist for a business owner. There will always be more urgent things to do. So let's be clear: the right time is now .
Why now ? Because the longer you wait, the greater the number of opportunities that will pass you by. Know that selling on the internet does not only require having a website. It must also be visible . And if you hope to attract new, unknown customers thanks to your e-commerce site, this necessarily involves advertising (paid), or natural referencing (free). And natural referencing, even if it is devilishly effective and profitable, it takes time !
Indeed, our friend Google takes into consideration the age of your site to classify it among your competitors. Especially since each action you take on your site to improve its ranking in search results will only be taken into account by Google 3 to 6 months later.
Is this a reason to postpone your digital transition? Surely not. It is better to be a pioneer or follower than a laggard. The large groups that we all know that were slow to begin their digital transition are today for the most part in great difficulty.
As our former president said: “ Change is now!” ”
How to succeed in your digital transition without disrupting your current customers
Many of your current customers are accustomed to your current ordering processes. It is very important for them to support them in your digital transition. Because don't forget that if this brings a change in habits for you, it is also for your customers 😉
Selling on the internet to increase your sales volume, we say YES. Giving up and leaving your current customers to their own devices is NO. One does not go without the other. Your digital transition will be all the more successful if you manage to convert your ancestral customers to your new ordering processes.
So to do this: support them, train them if necessary, and above all do not break with your old processes: leave the possibility to those who wish to continue ordering via the more traditional channel. At least for a while. Selling on the internet is supposed to bring you more customers, not drive away your existing customers.
Overview of some e-commerce site solutions. Their advantages and disadvantages
Today, many solutions exist for selling on the internet. They are either open-source solutions or SaaS solutions. The first has the advantage of being very flexible by giving the possibility of building an e-commerce site from scratch. Open-source solutions are therefore adapted to companies that have very specific needs. On the other hand, they sometimes require solid technical knowledge to be implemented correctly, and security is not always optimal. The second solution allows you to build an e-commerce site very quickly with an easily maintainable and secure base, without needing to get your hands dirty. However, it is less customizable.
WordPress via WooCommerce: the most used in the world
Who has never heard of the WordPress CMS which allows anyone to create a blog in a few clicks, simply and for free? Well, its WooCommerce extension allows you to transform a simple showcase site into a real e-commerce site full of features and customizable as desired. WooCommerce alone represents no less than 41% of online sales sites in the world. A juggernaut aided by its freeness and simplicity.
Keep in mind, however, that if you do not have the slightest technical knowledge, WooCommerce will not allow you to set up a site completely in your image unless you use a specialized service provider. Furthermore, it is an open-source solution enhanced with numerous extensions which sometimes make the thing unstable (crash, bug, slowdown) or even insecure in the absence of regular maintenance.
Magento: the most complete solution designed for large catalogs
By far the most complete e-commerce CMS on the market, Magento is designed for e-retailers with a very large product catalog . With this CMS, you can manage several thousand references without problem, in multilingual and multi-currency !
However, the Magento interface is not very ergonomic, complex to master and therefore not suitable for beginners. As a general rule, you arrive at Magento after having pushed the functionalities of your old CMS to the maximum.
Prestashop: the little Frenchman who has nothing to envy of the others
Prestashop is based on the same business model as WooCommerce, namely a free CMS enhanced with numerous free or paid extensions. Unlike WordPress, Prestashop is a purely e-commerce CMS : it only knows how to do that, and does it very well. Forget blogs or other showcase sites with Prestashop, the little French company specializes in the sale of products online.
This is a strength but also a weakness since the open-source community is less active, and paid extensions are generally sold more expensive. Also note: Prestashop maintenance is heavier than WooCommerce. If you don't know a little bit about technology, updating the CMS can quickly turn into a nightmare and require the help of a freelancer. You have been warned!
Shopify: the easiest to use, in monthly subscription mode
Shopify is an e-commerce site creation platform intended for beginners who have no technical knowledge. The interface is ultra simple to use, but this e-commerce CMS is not free: you will have to pay a monthly subscription in addition to a commission on the amount of all your sales . Add to this the bank commissions and the bill can quickly add up.
Shopify is therefore recommended for beginner e-retailers who want to have a presence on the web simply and quickly.
Huggii: the B2B or B2C e-commerce solution in SaaS mode
French e-commerce platform, Huggii offers VSEs and SMEs a turnkey e-commerce solution for sales to individuals or professionals.
Less flexible and customizable than open source platforms, Huggii turns out to be a solution that will be perfect for many small and medium-sized businesses wishing to launch into online sales without constraints . Indeed, Huggii's strength is to offer e-commerce solutions that are easy to implement, at a lower cost, and which adapt to the customer.
We are far from e-commerce behemoths like Magento which offers a plethora of features without supporting you in their implementation. Huggii uses a differentiating approach by providing the most complete solution possible, while allowing it to evolve according to the customer's needs .
From just €99 per month, Huggii gives you the benefit of a turnkey solution for selling on the internet , adapted to your business.