In honor of St Patrick’s day and my Irish heritage, I thought I would shake things up and talk about something we all love: beer. Not just any beer, a good home brew. Now, I would get fired if I couldn’t find a way to tie this to eCommerce, so here is my connection – finding a place to shop for homebrew supplies is just like finding a company to create your eCommerce store. It’s a stretch, but I bet I my love for beer and all things eCommerce will help me pull this off.
I have a lot of friends who shop for their homebrew supplies at traditional brick and mortar stores, and some are better than others. From what I have learned, none of the shops can be considered “bad;” some just have better appeal because of the services they provide. The same can be said of an eCommerce web development company. There are lots of places to shop that aren’t bad, but when you’re wanting your store to be the best, you must work with the best.
After tasting a lot of beer and talking to some knowledgeable homebrewers, I found out that there are five things they look for when shopping for supplies, and consequently they are the same five things you need to consider when finding the right company to create your eCommerce site.
First and foremost, you must find a place that has a friendly and helpful staff, especially if this is your first time making a homebrew or designing a website for eCommerce. Think about it, walking into a store can be intimidating if you have no idea what you are doing. You want a place that can dispel your fears and put you at ease. The staff at the homebrew shop, just like the staff at a web development company should take the time to walk you through the steps and show you exactly what you need.
In my experience, I have dealt with web development companies that look down on me for not understanding what they are talking about. My friends who homebrew have had similar experiences. And guess what? That is the best way to frustrate a customer and ensure they won’t be back.
Educated and Knowledgeable Staff
Not only should the staff be accommodating, but they should be educated and knowledgeable about the products and services they are selling. Every employee who has contact with a customer needs to have at least some knowledge about home brewing, or, in the case of eCommerce, web development. There should also be someone always on hand to answer the more advanced technical process involved. The goal for the homebrewer, and for the eCommerce site owner, is to end up with a finished product that can be thoroughly enjoyed when complete.
I have found that the best way to ensure success is to seek out the real experts in the field no matter what you are shopping for. This guarantees you end up with the highest quality beer or website!
Note: Just like old-time home brewers, old-time brick and mortar shops can be set in their ways. An expert can readily show that new things are always being discovered as technology evolves.
Variety of Options
With homebrewing, you need to have access to a wide selection of ingredients. Today’s homebrewers experiment more than ever and homebrew stores need to accommodate them. For example, a great shop carries malt from the US, Germany, and Belgium. They stock tons of hop varieties and offer oddball yeast packs. Now, I can’t tell you what an oddball yeast pack is, but the point is you can’t just offer what everyone else has and expect to survive. This applies to web development for eCommerce as well.
Selling online has so many advantages — global reach, 24/7 availability, low overhead, and unmatched flexibility, just to name a few. If you’re ready to step into the ever-expanding world of eCommerce, you want to be able to choose from a wide variety of solutions and features to ensure your eCommerce presence stand out among your competitors.
Just like everything else in life, for both homebrewing and web development, variety keeps things fresh and exciting.
Many homebrewing companies use social media to connect with their customers to let them know about events, deals, and handy resources. The belief held by many of the homebrewing companies is that brewing brings people together. Guess what, eCommerce brings people together as well. A great web development company stays up to date with everything new in the world of technology. They also share that information via social media. A great web development company works hard to make your website the center of a spider web where all marketing efforts point to that center.
Like homebrewers, web development companies utilize:
An email newsletter that is sent out regularly.
A blog for people to get to know their brand. People buy from people they feel like they know and a blog is a great place for people to get to know you.
Facebook – over 50% of users check Facebook each day, not your website. Go where your users are.
Twitter – Many people either love Twitter or hate it. Keep your messaging short and share the link love with retweets.
At first, I wasn’t going to include price because many of the homebrewers I talked to said it was not something they considered. Their goal in the end to create the best possible product, so cost did not matter. Quality was the most important part of any purchase they make. I am really going to go out on a limb here, but the same is true when an eCommerce site is being built. Sure, you should have a budget, but you should be realistic and expect to pay more for a higher quality product. However, that does not mean that the highest price assures the best product. Do your research and find a trusted brand to work with. When we allow price to be the only deciding factor in a purchase, we might miss out getting the best.
Final Thought: It takes time
Once you know what you want to achieve, you need to figure out how to get there.
The perfect beer does not come through a quick process. While there are some aspects that can be accelerated, the whole process takes about a month. Four to six hours of brewing, weeks of fermentation, bottling or kegging – and then conditioning.
Depending on the size of your eCommerce site, it could take 30 to 300 hours to build out the functionality that is needed.
For both beer and web development, keep in mind that there is also a waiting period for feedback from tasters or users. Things can change unexpectedly in web development – the client could decide the scope wasn’t accurate, user experience might need tinkering, client feedback takes more time than expected, or bugs prove hard to fix.
Similarly, things can go wrong with the beer as well. Sometimes the beer will come out sweeter than expected, so a longer conditioning time gets needed with some dry hopping. Or, the beer just tastes gross. Trust me, I have tried some very unique concoctions that have left a bad taste in my mouth.
Hopefully, I have been able to bring my love of beer and eCommerce together in a way that was enjoyable to read as well as packed with valuable information. If not, may I suggest a drink or two and then re-read this compelling blog. Happy St. Patrick’s Day and may the luck of the Irish make your beer taste better and your eCommerce site shine! Cheers!