07 Jan The 5 Mistakes Brands Make When Going E-Comm
The trends are hard to ignore. Each year there is double-digit growth on consumers choosing to buy products online. What started with books (thanks Jeff Bezos) has turned to nearly every product in the last 25 years. People are buying cars online, sight unseen, these days!
So naturally, people would want to purchase commercial-grade furniture, right? But the industry has been slow to adopt a meaningful e-commerce strategy. Shadow brands on Amazon and clunky shopping carts with LIST prices on their websites aren’t the way to engage today’s buyer. That’s why we started Cayke, to help facilitate the e-commerce revolution for an industry that desperately needs it.
First up, let’s talk about the most common mistakes people make when trying to bring their products to the mass-market with an E-Commerce strategy:
Mistake #1 – Making it too complicated for the customer
It shouldn’t require a PhD or advanced software development degree to buy your products. One of the most common mistakes is a brand deciding that the complexity of the furniture industry needs to translate to the e-commerce experience. Why not start small? You don’t need a complicated ERP integration from day one. We help brands prove demand and convert the easy opportunities.
Studies show that somewhere between 20-30% of the users that land on your website want and expect to be able to purchase on the spot. But our industry doesn’t give them that opportunity. Let’s start by converting those customers with your bestsellers (which leads us to the next mistake…)
Mistake #2 – Assuming 100% of products and finishes need to be available from day one
A huge barrier to entry is having the assets prepared. Do you have renderings of EVERY product finish, in every combination, from every angle? If you do, you may be the first. Most brands we work with aren’t even close to this goal. So instead of making incremental progress and meeting customers where they are, the brands spend months with rendering and photoshop teams trying to get their image database perfectly accurate.
Our recommendation? Forget that approach! We consult with brands to identify bestsellers and top finishes to get options online in weeks not months. We love a methodical approach, but proving sales success will help the entire process progress confidently.
Mistake #3 – Assuming that every person on your website is a commercial buyer with a huge project that is 12-18 months away
We covered this a bit above, but this couldn’t be less true. You have hundreds of buyers at every stage in the purchase journey on your website. And if you’ve built a site to educate for the future only, you’re missing out on serving a large portion of your audience.
Most buyers need small quantities and they need it sooner than later. That’s why our approach helps you meet your site visitors where they are. If you satisfy the short-term needs, they’ll remember even more when their needs are long-term.
Mistake #4 – Selling on sites like Amazon or Wayfair (as your brand or a sister brand)
You’ve spent years (and often decades) building a brand, a website, and organic web traffic. So trusting the e-commerce success of your brand to Wayfair and Amazon seems a little crazy, right? Can you sell products on these marketplace players? Absolutely. But you’ll be stuck in their flywheel, playing their game. You’ll pay for ad placement, pay for keywords, erode your margin, and have a limited chance to tell your brand story.
On the flipside, you control every aspect of your own website. You don’t have to qualify for “A+ content” and you don’t have to worry about standing out alongside Amazon’s recommendations of “if you like this product, you’ll love this one.” Simply put, it’s your site, your narrative, and a much higher chance of long term relationship building with customers.
Mistake #5 – Making your marketing team (that has zero e-commerce experience) take a YouTube class about Shopify so you can keep up with the Joneses
Obviously, we’re a little passionate about this one. There are certainly ways for you to take the advice above and start your own e-commerce experience on your site. But we caution brands to take a breath and “know thyself.” Is this something you are strategically gifted towards? Is creating an e-commerce experience something you’ve studied before and rolled out across a brand? If not, trying the DIY model is more risky than ignoring the first four mistakes above.
That’s why we take a partnership approach with brands who work with Cayke. We help you with the web development, the assortment selection, the pricing strategy, and the brand narrative. Our fees are intentionally low up-front because we know the proof is in the (bread) pudding. When you win, we win. And that’s how it should be as we introduce the world to brands they’ve desperately wanted access to.