5 Myths about Online Shopping Carts

Written on the 30 January 2012

If you're like 61% of the Australian population, you've purchased goods or services online. You have become part of an industry that is worth almost $35 Billion and rising. However, if you are also like a majority of Australian businesses, you are not selling your goods and products online.

Why is this?

By denying that Online Shopping will work for your business, you are allowing your competitors to tap into your market. Through our research, we've discovered a number of myths that are preventing businesses like yours from branching into Online Shopping. Today, I'm going to dispel those myths so that you can gain a better understanding of how an Online Shopping Cart will work for you.

Myth 1: Selling online is only good for retail businesses

False! If you can sell it, you can sell it online.

Sure, some in the retail industry have taken to e-commerce like a fish to water, but that doesn't mean that other industries are not getting the same results. Here's some examples of other industries that have taken advantage of the growing online market:

  • A manufacturer that makes it easier for their suppliers to buy online by adding a Shopping Cart to their website.
  • An accountant that sells "How to do your own tax" eBooks online.
  • A business consultant that sells tickets to workshops and events from their website.
  • A beauty parlour that sells gift certificates and beauty service packages online.

Look at your business and identify what you could sell online. Then think about how many more people will purchase your goods or services if they could buy them online. You may be surprised how effective a Shopping Cart will be for boosting your earnings.

If you are in retail, selling goods online can be very successful for your business. The sad thing is that many Australian businesses are not doing this so your customers are actually sourcing the same, or similar goods, from overseas providers. Data has shown that retail sales in Australia are still not what they were a few years ago and some industries (including clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing) are actually seeing a fall in sales. Rather than get despondent about these figures use them as motivation to try a new tactic - like selling your goods online - and help reduce overhead costs in order to price your goods more competitively.

Myth 2: My target market doesn't shop online

Data compiled by Buysight in 2010 brings to light some interesting facts about the demographic of online shoppers.

The first piece of data that captures my attention is that 56% of all online shoppers are female. Nearly as many men, as women, are shopping online. So, if gender is the determining factor in your target market, online shopping will still work for you.

Age brings up some other points to address. There is a definite drop in sales in the 73+ age group and even fewer purchases in the 12-17 age bracket. However, if your primary target market is either of these groups, do not immediately dismiss the possibility of selling online to those who buy for this market.

The biggest thing we have learnt is not to stereotype your target market. For example, one of our clients - a watch retailer - thought that he would get more sales online from regional and rural areas that couldn't visit his store and were therefore forced to purchase online. He was shocked to discover that his main online customers were actually time-poor people living in the city.

Or a Shed supplier, whose target market were predominantly male farmers or engineers. They thought that their target market not only didn't purchase online, but also didn't research their future purchases online. They were wrong, and after spending more energy showcasing their products online they became one of Australia's largest suppliers of sheds.

The moral of the story is that you really don't know who will buy your products online until you give it a go.

Myth 3: Online Shopping Carts aren't secure

Unfortunately, wherever there's money, there is likely to be fraud. However, the impression people have of the Internet being a cesspool of shady characters on the hunt for a Shopping Cart to hack is not quite accurate.

Neither is the idea that in-store transactions are 100% fraud free either.

Overall  the benefits of owning an online Shopping Cart far outweigh the risks (as they can be mitigated), and with careful selection, you'll be able to find a Shopping Cart that is safe, secure and responsible.

So, what do you need to look for in your shopping cart? Here are a few:

  • Make sure your Shopping Cart allows for Word Verification or Captcha images. This prevent spambots or other computer programs from creating a user account in your Shopping Cart.
  • Ensure the company you are buying your Shopping Cart from is reputable and well respected.
  • Ask for the company's Security Whitepaper. This should outline the measures they take to ensure that your data, and that of your customers, is well protected.
  • Ensure your Shopping Cart supports SSL certificates. This is the most secure method of online transaction and an absolute must-have for anyone wanting to get into e-commerce.

Myth 4: E-commerce is a operational nightmare! There's no way I'm going to learn it.

Well, no, not if you have the right Internet partner that can provide you with an easy to use Shopping Cart. In fact, for many people, migrating their business to e-commerce has actually saved them massive amounts of time, and money, and helped streamline their business.

A good Shopping Cart will have all the features you need to manage your products, price lists and taxes, shipping options, orders and customers, discounts and vouchers, and stock quantities. Your Internet partner will also be able to offer you support and strategies that will help you get the most out of your online store.

With the right technology and support, your Shopping Cart will be able to generate much more income for your business, with minimal administration time and overhead costs.

Myth 5 - E-commerce is really expensive

Well, it's certainly a lot less expensive than opening a new physical store, which requires bond, a fitout, a new salesperson (at least), ongoing rental fees and advertising. Furthermore, your local target audience is tiny compared to the national or international audience you could reach with an e-commerce website.

Often, we see that our clients' e-commerce websites pay for themselves within months of their launch. These successes include our clients Frankie and Nicole and Designer Wardrobes, who weighed up the cost of setting up an e-commerce website against the possible results they would achieve and greatly boosted their earnings as a result of this decision.