June '15

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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92 || P R I N T W E A R J U N E 2 0 1 5 out of your control as far as mainte- nance and upgrades. Most are dif- ficult to navigate or make it hard for your staff to manage the back-end. Though some use these sites as an e-commerce test kit to introduce new customers to the benefits of online ordering, their lack of functionality and cookie-cutter appearance may turn off customers who might other- wise buy a more polished product. THE REALITY In truth, there will never be one solution that adapts equal- ly well to every situation. The trick is to ensure that the site addresses the most pressing needs of the client while making sense for your bottom line. Today's customer shops online regularly. The types of bells and whistles we think of as selling points for our sites are likely taken for grant- ed. The Internet has an equalizing force that allows, but also requires, small companies to compete with the largest in the world. Your client expects the functionality of an and gives you little credit for achieving that base usability. Though you should buy the best tools that make sense for your business, they alone won't ensure success. You must also offer a service that goes beyond the browser. As old-fashioned as it may sound, what makes and keeps a business-to-business e-commerce site attractive has more to do with what happens before the site is built and after each order is taken than the interface. The problems businesses complain about most are the universal among customers. They need attentive service, on-time delivery, and easy ordering. Any ven- ture starts by ensuring you can fulfill those basic needs. Even so, you may find that a customer has special needs that e-commerce tools can easily address. Begin the sales process by interviewing your customer and discover those pain points that your sites can solve. Here are a few applications that may apply to your business-to-business e-commerce clients' woes. Some items just don't work well as faux mock-ups. Among those are reflective pieces, such as rhine- stone shirts or screen-printed gar- ments with foil. E–COMMERCE

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