If you want to sell digital products, you need an online shop as a sales channel. This shop can be created relatively affordably using a website builder. However, this requires a lot of time and effort, and comes with follow-up costs. Read more here about the pros and cons of this solution.
Selling digital products: how can your company make the best appearance?
Purely digital products and services can replace many goods which have only been physically available to date, or they can establish completely new categories. The sale of virtual goods takes place over the internet. Examples of digital products are:
- Artwork and graphics
- Templates for cloud design platforms
- Audio clips and music
- Further education
Many of these and similar digital products are also suitable for B2B business – such as IT systems. If you want to sell such digital products, you need a digital sales channel. It should feature an appealing design, present a clear overview of the products and information, and allow for an intuitive, easy shopping process. It is also important that the offer is visible on every kind of end device – whether desktop computer, smartphone or tablet.
A platform that meets all these requirements can be developed in a tailored way – either on your own or by using a service provider. In both of these cases, the development, however, will cost time and money. Which is why this path is most suitable for large or financially strong companies. Using a website builder for an own website is promising as an affordable alternative.
Online shop using a website builder: what to pay attention to
A website builder is a comparatively affordable and easy-to-use solution for building up a B2B online shop – not only in terms of the design, but also of ongoing operation and maintenance. Normally, no programming know-how is required. Instead, the creation of such a shop usually involves a drag-and-drop process featuring various templates that can be combined to build up a website.
The costs for this are rather low, however you will need to plan for a lot of time to create the site. After all, if you use a website builder, you have to do everything yourself. What’s more, you are somewhat limited in creating an individual design due to the pre-formatted templates. A truly unique result cannot be achieved. And the danger: the websites of competitors could look similar and therefore be easily mistakeable.
This also means that experienced users can quickly recognise when a website builder has been used for the online shop, which, in turn, may have a negative impact on the image of your company.
On top of that, allegedly low-maintenance websites created using a website builder must be continually updated. Which is why you should immediately update the website with every change in your offer.
Providers of website builder solutions often assign several clients to a single server, whose capacity they then have to share. This can result in technical problems at peak times, such as slow website performance or even a temporary malfunction of the system.
An additional point to keep in mind: the use of the website comes with ongoing costs, which add up over time and can put the original cost advantage into perspective.
Even simple variants of website builders provide an e-commerce function. This includes templates for product pages or for item and price lists. But these will hardly be suitable for a professional B2B online shop. Which is why it makes sense to choose a website builder with comprehensive online shop solutions – for instance product administration systems or marketing and SEO tools, as well as shipping and fulfilment tools.
Such service providers are, for instance:
Online B2B business: dos and don’ts for an online shop
Whether you create a website using a builder or by hiring external specialists to do the job – in every case, online shops must satisfy certain requirements. This overview of 10 dos and don’ts shows you what makes for good online business and what you should avoid:
- Consider SEO: most users find (digital) products via search engines like Google. Mainly when the products are at the top of the search results list. If they are lower down, they often go unseen. To avoid this, you should optimise the editorial content of the online shop, with the aim to increase the reach of your offer and thus improve visibility on Google and similar.
- Send emails after a bounce: many potential online buyers place products in the virtual basket, but then leave the process before payment. A simple email as a reminder about the items can be enough to motivate the user to buy.
- Provide good product descriptions: interested users should be able to find extensive explanations and helpful information about the digital products in the online shop. The descriptions should be long enough to answer any questions, but short enough to maintain interest. As an add-on, images and videos can also be helpful.
- Create a buyer persona: a buyer persona is a type of person you have created who represents the target group. This tool helps to fine-tune marketing strategies in order to address people who should be addressed.
- Optimise for mobile devices: the online shop also has to work well on smartphones and tablets. This allows orders to be placed at any time and from anywhere.
- Avoid a complicated checkout process: the more barriers to purchase, the sooner the user will bounce. Which is why the process should be as short as possible. Ideal is a checkout page for all the important information and customer data. Name, email address, shipping and payment information will suffice.
- Don’t make users set up a profile: customer profiles offer many advantages for you as an online shop operator. After all, you can then use the data and contact options for sales and marketing. But many customers don’t like to give out this information. Which is why they should not be forced to do so, but be able to order as a guest.
- Avoid external advertising: third-party ads and pop-ups on the online shop allow you to earn extra money, but they can get on the nerves of users, who then bounce. The financial added value of advertising can probably not offset the loss of potential customers who bounce.
- Don’t neglect customer service: a fast and effective customer service is one of the most important parts of an online shop. If you cut corners here, you can easily lose buyers.
- Don’t forget to monitor success: each online shop not only requires frequent maintenance, but should also be checked for its effectiveness time and time again. If this slips, adjustments are necessary. For instance, with tests of differently designed landing pages. This allows you to find out which design leads to more conversions. Even just the use of different colours or buttons can result in success.