Once you decide that your company needs an ecommerce presence and choose an appropriate ecommerce platform, the next question is usually, “What should we sell online?” Choosing what items to sell on your ecommerce site can be challenging, depending on your product mix. A little forethought before launching the site will ensure that the best possible product mix is available for online purchases. Most organizations choose one of the three following options when deciding what to sell online.
1. Sell Your Entire Print Catalog Online
The first and most natural answer is to sell all of your products online. For some organizations, this can be an effective strategy. (Amazon.com, anyone?) For others, selling everything online comes with some challenges that must be overcome to sell that item through ecommerce. For example, pet stores that sell fish tanks and all of the gear necessary for setting up an aquarium to consumers would have some details to consider before they could sell gold fish online. Likewise, a law enforcement and military supply company that sells direct to the consumer as well as to organizations would need to consider how to verify who can purchase the weapons they sell.
2. Sell Only the Most Popular SKUs Online
For some organizations, the ecommerce strategy that makes the most sense is to sell only the most popular items online to ensure that they are available to a wide range of people in a variety of locations. To start, we usually suggest the 80/20 rule: sell the 20% of products that are 80% of your business.
3. Sell the Unpopular Items Online
Not interested in stocking the slow-moving SKUs at every one of your distributor locations? Make those unpopular items available for purchase you online catalog instead and save the hassle of stocking low demand products. Keep in mind that if you want your ecommerce site to be more than a dusty back room for those less than exciting products, you should include a selection of your most popular products as well.
4. Put Only the Easy-to-Ship Items On Your Website
If your company sells construction equipment ranging from hand tools to back hoes, you may choose to sell the smaller, more easily shippable items online and keep the larger construction equipment–the back hoes–off line. Likewise, if special shipping is required for chemicals you ship, you might choose to keep those items off of your ecommerce site until the shipping details can be arranged.
Never Forget: Content is Still King
B2B products can be considerably more complex than B2C products due to added complexity around product features and configurations. Product features and information need to be clearly presented and in formats that your online customers now expect. The key is to maintain a balance between what you need to provide for the initial product release and what you can continue to create and add to your website post-release.
Transitioning your print catalog to an online catalog?
To learn more about maximizing the success of your ecommerce site, download the white paper, B2B Ecommerce Success – Seven Questions to Consider When Beginning an Ecommerce Initiative >