E-commerce is the buying and selling of goods and services over the internet. If you’re a business owner, large or small, you should have a way for your customers to purchase from you online. We are in an era where all our mobile devices are connected to the internet and consumers are spending more and more of their time searching the web for products and services they want.
Companies such as Amazon, Alibaba and Fashionnova have raked in millions of dollars in sales simply by providing products their customers want and a safe and easy to use way for them to purchase online at their own convenience.
Jamaican businesses, especially small businesses often see e-commerce as a goal that is out of their reach, often because of the cost and resources associated with having a dedicated e-commerce site. The term e-commerce however does not only refer to the use of a dedicated website. There are many ways in which you may sell your products online. A few of these are:
Social Media/ Social Commerce – Platforms such as instagram and facebook provide limited options for displaying products to customers. Though the most popular method for Jamaican small businesses, it is not the most effective option as the process still relies on customers having to reach out via DM or WhatsApp to make purchases. It however provides a good opportunity to showcase products and their available variations and cost.
Marketplace Websites – These are websites that allow for businesses to set up virtual store spaces, that allow customers to browse and
purchase online through their platform. They often charge a monthly fee or some variation of a setup fees and commission for each transaction from your store. Popular marketplaces would be Amazon, Etsy and Ebay which are internationally known. Jamaica also has our share of marketplace sites that are worth giving a try, my top recommendations would be 876Get, JaDeals, Cool Market and JamTings.
Direct Sales/ Dedicated Websites – This is when you have decided to make the investment and create your own dedicated website. There are many options for how this can be accomplished with or without a hired web developer. A dedicated site is most recommended if you want to have full cost control of your items as well as if you have custom order requirements or a large amount of products.
When deciding on the best option for you to sell your products online, be sure to keep in mind that the more of the process that is automated, the more time it allows for you to focus on your business and also the more likely you are to have customers complete a sale when there is little to no wait time to get the details on how to order what they want. Also take into consideration that selling your products online allow you to provide multiple payment options.
How to accept payments is a major part of selling online and for a long time has been the biggest obstacle for businesses in Jamaica to sell online. There were limited options and the options that existed were beyond the financial reach of the average business owner. That is no longer the case. Our banks have opened up and started providing several ecommerce packages as well as other payment solutions providers. The top 3 I recommend for local online payment gateways are NCB (Fygaro & HB Quick Pay), Sagicor and WiPay.
There is alot to consider when deciding to sell online but if you have products for sale, there should never be a question of IF you should set up an online store, the only question should be HOW am I going to set up my online store. A quick note as well, if the recent outage of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, taught us nothing else, its that social media cannot and should not be the sole platform for selling to your customers.
If you need help to determine the most beneficial and cost effective way to get your store online, give us a call at (876)648-1305 or visit our website and book a FREE consultation. We are happy to help you.