Why You Shouldn’t Rule Out eCommerce for Your Business

Ecommerce is an invaluable tool for any business. Not only does it reduce, or completely eliminate, overheads associated with a physical storefront, it also creates an entirely new customer base through national and international shipping. With an online store at your fingertips, customers from all over the world can purchase your products at the click of a button. The possibilities are endless, and open to every type of business imaginable.

All you need is a website, a product, and the right mindset to present it to the world. It’s time to embrace thinking outside the box and start putting round pegs into square holes. Think differently is what we’re are saying!

 

BUT MY PRODUCTS ARE TOO BULKY TO SHIP!

 

If you sell bulky products such as fridges, furniture or exercise equipment you may be tempted to forgo ecommerce due to the various challenges associated with shipping them. Due to their size, such items cannot be posted by regular means and must generally either be hand delivered by your business, or sent via courier. Both options are entirely feasible and utilised by countless online businesses to great effect.

 

Websites such as Appliances Online offer free delivery of fridges and other large appliances to their customers by dispatching their own trucks from their warehouse. Obviously this isn’t an option for everyone so websites like Gym and Fitness ship fitness equipment to customers and charge for delivery based on the postcode of the buyer.

 

If you’re worried about charging for delivery, don’t be. Customers who purchase products online are generally prepared to pay for reasonable shipping – it’s all part of the experience, and the trade-off for being able to shop from the comfort of your couch.

Of course, there are always more creative methods such as factoring the cost of shipping into the total cost of the product itself.

 

MY PRODUCTS ARE TOO UNIQUE / CUSTOMISABLE TO SELL ONLINE

 

The uniqueness or customisability of your product should never be a barrier to utilising the advantages of ecommerce. While it can present a problem for instant purchasing, there are many ways this can be positively presented through an online business. For example, take a look at RedBubble, a website that prides itself on selling unique, customisable products. From T-shirts to posters and home décor the options are endless, and most allow the customer to customise the item to their preferred taste. Posters, for example, have multiple prints, sizes and materials to choose from. Other examples include Spread Shirt, which allows the customer to create custom clothing and Pimp My Fridge for customisable fridges.

 

Alternatively, if your product has too many options to realistically list, you can provide a price range and then offer the customer direct communication through an email form or phone number, to enquire further. Using an ecommerce store front as a lead generation tool is a clever way to upsell your products too.

 

WHAT IF I DON’T SELL A PHYSICAL PRODUCT?

 

This is no obstacle. When it comes to online shopping, services are products – it’s just a matter of how you package them. Services can be displayed and purchased like any physical product; the only difference is what the customer receives. In fact, services have multiple advantages over physical products. They have no manufacturing costs, they don’t need to be stockpiled or ordered and they don’t require shipping. You have complete control. You can offer as much, or as little, in each package as you like.

 

Websites that utilise this to great effect sell services such as content for everyday things like LinkedIn bios, legal services, and streamed movies and TV shows.

 

Whether you sell bulky objects, unique and customisable products, or intangible services, ecommerce can help you do it. The options are infinite and the only limitations are the ones you impose on yourself.

Do You Really Need an SSL Certificate?

SSL certificates can be difficult to wrap your head around. For some websites, they’re incredibly important. For others, not so much.

What is an SSL Certificate?

An SSL (secure sockets layer) certificate is essentially a guarantee that the website people are visiting is in fact secure. It’s a small file hosted on your web server that binds a cryptographic “key” to your business. When a person uses their browser to visit your site, it sends a request to connect. Your site will then respond with their SSL certificate, and the visitor’s browser will ensure that the SSL certificate is valid. It’s slightly more complicated than that, but that’s the gist of it.

When you’re browsing online, you might notice that some sites’ addresses are http://, while others are https:// – the “s” means that the site has an SSL certificate. Some businesses obtain an Extended Validation SSL certificate, which, among other things, allows them to display their business name at the start of the address in most browsers. A good example of this is the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, found at commbank.com.au.

Why are SSL Certificates used?

SSL certificates are usually employed on websites that require a secure connection. This can involve credit card transactions, or even situations where people may be required to log in for a particular reason. If your site does not have an SSL certificate, then the information that travels between it and users is very unprotected and able to be easily accessed by outside parties. This can be a major concern if users are entering credit card information or other personal data into your site.

The Benefits of an SSL Certificate

An SSL certificate ensures that you and your clients’ sensitive information is protected while en route, via encryption. It also provides authentication for users, ensuring that their information is being sent to the correct server, rather than an intermediary or imposter who may be attempting to farm data.

There is also a trust element to SSL certificates. Users, whether consciously or subconsciously, have been shown to inherently trust sites that display the padlock symbol or green colour associated with SSL certificates. When your site is receiving thousands of hits and every conversion matters, an SSL certificate can certainly help to improve your conversion rates. You wouldn’t stay in a hotel with no doors any more than you would give your card details to an unsecured site.

Beyond that, there may be some search engine optimisation advantages to using an SSL certificate. Google announced in 2014 that it would start giving a minor ranking boost to sites that hold an SSL certificate. Google is committed to a secure internet, and while an SSL certificate only forms a small part of their overall ranking algorithm, every little bit can help.

The Disadvantages of an SSL Certificate

The disadvantages to having an SSL certificate are minor. The cost can be an obvious deterrent for many small businesses, particularly if they aren’t running an ecommerce store or don’t have a pressing need to protect customer data.

Another concern is performance, as the extra transmittance of data between browser and server can cause additional load. However, this is usually only a factor for websites with large traffic.

Do you REALLY need an SSL Certificate?

There is no law or “internet rule” that requires most websites to have an SSL certificate. However, if you’re engaged in online commerce or otherwise handling personal data, it is highly recommended. For most small brick and mortar businesses simply seeking to have an online presence, an SSL certificate is not a major concern.

If you’re considering getting an SSL certificate, do your research first. Ensure that you implement any required redirects, as well as updating links where required. You may also need to perform a “fetch as Google” via your webmaster tools to ensure that Google can still crawl all pages on your site.

At the end of the day, the decision comes down to the function of your website. If data is travelling between your website and the user, then you need an SSL. If not, then you’ll be just fine.

In Passionate Defense of Point of Sale

WK Digital is passionate about point of sale – kinda weird huh? Well not really when you consider its the thing that keeps all your customer purchases, staff and profit in check every damn day.

#onlinePOS

We build online point of sale software, what does that even mean? Well principally its your own customised website that processes online orders as efficiently as if your customer was in store.

#hardwarevendors

Sometimes our software is used in replacement of hardware based point of sale, for some it makes sense. But we’re not hardware vendors, our partners are.

#beautifulcatherding

9 times out of 10 what business owners are looking for is a great point of sale system that does in store what can be described as the most beautifully choreographed cat herding exercise every damn day.

#ohyeahnailedit

Minus pepperoni on the meatlovers half of your extra large pizza? Chicken schnitzel in the front kitchen made first before the lamb wrap in the deli for the same order? Need a shirt send from another store? In store POS systems have you covered.

#takeyourmumtothedoctor

Even better, these systems give you a real time view of profits based on orders less staff and other operational costs, to your phone while you’re taking your mum to the doctor.

#nowhingies

POS systems = control and the ability to make fast decisions. Slow day on a public holiday, losing money? Shut the shop early based on the information, not a whingy staff member.

#nottooexpensive

The feedback we get, is that in store POS systems are too expensive. And maybe some of them are, but speaking to most of our industry brethren they’ve adjusted pricing to give you options – so hear them out.

#dumbfridges

And we know your other equipment costs money, but your fridge can’t tell you (yet) whether you’re making money. So invest in something that does.

#antihassle

We have our favourite POS vendors sure, but only based on a mutual desire to see clients get the very best service for the very best price and the least amount of hassle.

#webposhandsbloodyfree

The best part is, if you’ve invested in a good system then getting a website to boost your profits is easy with WebPOS. We set it up and then we send the orders to your POS, just like now. You update product information on your POS, the site is updated at the same time, no extra work. Hands bloody free.

#everydamnday

So in 2016 technology and information has made it easier to own and build businesses, but without a software system that controls your operation you’ll just keep wishing you had one, every damn day.

FROLO Explained

There has been significant upheaval in the restaurant online ordering space in the last 12 months, companies have merged, companies have been bought out for hundreds of millions of dollars and some have gone out of business.

We can’t predict exactly what will happen to aggregated online ordering sites but we can explain a new phrase, FROLO, that has popped up.

FROLO stands for free restaurant online ordering and that in itself sounds pretty good, who doesn’t love free?

Please read the fine print though because what FROLO vendors offer is not free. You pay to build your own online ordering website and you have a flat monthly support cost to host the website.

This is the nature of all websites, pay for the expertise to have your site built and then while you are happy with the service continue to pay for your website to be hosted, supported and secured.

The “free” part of FROLO is that no commission is charged for each order, and that is a great idea. In fact its such a great idea we thought of it back in 2008 and have been building and hosting restaurant online ordering sites since then, NEVER charging a commission on sales.

The online ordering industry is ripe for a shakeup and we think this will be good for restaurant owners across Australia. We will continue building custom, feature-packed online ordering websites that never tax your profits – how good is that?’,

3 Keys to Successful Software Integration

We get a kick out of making our customers lives easier through websites and software that just works. Ultimately the biggest bang for buck for our customers is in software integration…but what does that mean?

In a nutshell its taking one piece of software and getting it to talk successfully to another piece of software to save manually transferring information that businesses need for daily operation.

Think automatic transfer and syncing of your online sales to your accounting software or your newsletter subscribers to your email marketing program, these are good examples of time savers for busy people and the list of integrations is endless.

Your website provider should be talking to you about how you can save time and money through integration, but before you get their help here are three important keys to successful software integration.

1. It should be cost-effective – get ready to think about the time cost of manual data entry versus the effort to integrate. No one has an unlimited budget so have an approximate idea of the time you are spending on that manual task to start with.

2. It should clearly replace a time-consuming process – don’t settle for a partial integration when the full process is what gets the win. Make sure your provider clearly identifies what you are getting and the benefits

3. A willingness to work with others to get the job done – we find that the key factor in successful integration projects is a willingness to work with other software providers. It is so rare for companies have one supplier for everything, so being able to talk to the people who already support your business is absolutely critical

Did we already mention we love software integration? And once you’ve taken the step to connect dots in your business that you did not know were possible we think you will too!

Paypal – Friend or Foe?

We get this question all the time, should I use Paypal to process credit cards for my online sales? And the short and easy answer used to be yes, because it was the most widely recognised credit card processing engine that integrates quickly and easily into your website.

But with time come different options and in a lot of cases less frustration for you and your end customer. Some of our customers use their bank gateway because they have access to the funds within 24 hours. Some processors like Stripe are a seamless way to get payments, keeping users onsite with a minimum of fuss.

And with the US government weighing into how they think Paypal should operate when it comes to shadowy entities making online purchases the game changes yet again.

WebPOS eCommerce solutions still strongly supports Paypal as a preferred way for our customers to process credit card transactions online but our software has evolved to support many different processors. Get in touch with us for more details at 1300 796 771.

Online Ordering & Online Shopping – is that what eCommerce is?

We get that question a lot, and for techies yes seems like an easy & obvious answer. But for our customers, who just want their customers to buy online, eCommerce sounds complicated. It sounds silly to get stuck on a word but the idea that tech jargon makes people decide against it before they even know what it is, its why we got into online solutions for business in the first place.

This amazing thing called the Internet should be (and for the most part is) a great leveller. You don’t need lots of money to extend your bricks and mortar store into online to build your profits and keep your customers loyal. But in our experience, you need some expertise to get out there.

We talk a lot about what to expect when you build a new online ordering website, but if you strip away the word “web” than what you want is something that is an extension of your business in a space that is open 24/7. Firstly and lastly, it should be easy to use and be pretty obvious in its intent as soon as the homepage displays.

We’ve spent a lot of time helping our customers build their online ordering & online shopping sites since 2008. Things have changed a lot in that time, it was time we made good on our own site’s ease of use and intent. We are days away from re-launching our new WebPOS Online Ordering software website and we are excited to share it as a view into how your online space can look, feel and function.

Stay tuned for more details on how we can help serve you in your goal to get online and grow with WebPOS.