Let your customers shop from home

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A. E-commerce--the ability for customers to browse and purchase products online--is a part of modern retail practice. As e-commerce has matured, so have many of the components necessary to manage a successful e-commerce business: technology offers more features and is easier to use, vendors have become more comfortable with drop-shipping, and payment mechanisms have evolved to give customers peace of mind.  All this means that today DME companies can leverage e-commerce as a tool to help grow sales, rather than having to build an entirely new business.

People expect to be able to buy what they need from the comfort of their couch. The result is that the brick-and-mortar store is sometimes just a showroom--the actual shopping is done at home. Your customers expect to be able to shop online--and if they cannot shop online with you, they will do it somewhere else.

If done right, e-commerce can offer your business a number of benefits. You can show and sell products that are not on your showroom floor or in inventory. You can reach customers who cannot otherwise make it in to your store--customers who, for instance, may work during your business hours or who may be homebound. Existing customers can more easily browse your product offerings, while new customers can learn more about the products and brands that you carry. 

Finally, e-commerce allows the customer to separate the shopping experience from the purchasing experience. They can visit your store, learn about products and then take the time to make the decision at home without pressure--and you do not have to worry about losing a sale just because the customer has walked out your door.

Jonathan Gordon is president of the Coribus Group. Reach him at 917-538-5665 or jon@coribusgroup.com.