Don’t buy an Ecommerce website. Really?

magento ecommerceWhy would I advise a client not to have a new website?

It’s pretty unusual to be honest but not unheard of.

The other day I went to see a bicycle shop who wanted to sell online. Their website the moment is very small, done by a friend, and looks pretty drab to be honest. So, they called us in to give them some ideas.

The first thing I noticed was that their current website does not reflect the either the size or the level of skill these guys possess in their field. Frankly they have a great shop, an Aladdins’ cave of everything bike. From toddler bikes right through “normal” road and mountain bikes through to £4000 downhill specials and every accessory and spare part you could think of. I have never seen so many bicycle pedals on display!

So, the first thing they asked for was to have an ecommerce website. I told them how much they would need to spend to ensure that the design and functionality gave the right impression to a buyer, i.e. high quality design, smooth transaction, related items cross selling, special offers and I also advised them that they would need to update their website very often to ensure that buyers were encouraged to return. Together with regular email offers and incentives they would be sure of not only attracting buyers, but also keeping them flocking back.

They were somewhat surprised by the price tag. A Magento based solution would have been ideal. But Magento is expensive, if you do it right.

Having an ecommerce website is not a cheap option, not if you want it to work. Why waste money on something that won’t work? Slow, badly constructed and cheap ecommerce websites are a real turn off to a potential web customer.

So, trying to help everyone, I actually suggested that the best way they could sell immediately would be to use Ebay and get a shop going in there.

The main thing they needed to do was to sort out their existing website. So my best advice was, a nice new website with a Content Management System, updating regularly after the free training we provide and then this all wrapped up in a design that truly reflected the business they are successfully running.

Another happy customer. Even if I did say, don’t buy it! I thank you.
(first posted in 2010)