Guest post by Brad Goldman , of Allan A. Goldman Inc. - Stonemangems.com
A life changing experience
If you’re aiming for a B2B wholesale ecommerce site, (without mountings), the budget and project is less demanding than creating a Retail site but you still need to be ready for a life changing experience.
I’m not talking about a Yellow page type web site that you create, load with about 30 nice images and leave unattended once completed. I’m talking about an order taking ecommerce site that you work on every day, constantly updating with inventory and images, constantly promoting via email, print ads, social media, blogs, direct mail, etc., in addition to Google search optimization. It is like creating a new location for your shop that constantly needs to be re-decorated so it does not get stale.
Find an expert agency
Producing the ecommerce web site is only the beginning of a never ending commitment to a new way of getting and doing business. First you have to find a dependable, qualified, competitively priced and honest developer. Second you need to have a clear idea of what you want your site to accomplish and how it is to be laid out. If you have a large budget you can hire someone to design and walk you through it. If you don’t, you need to do your homework and research site features that you like. Once your site is completed you need a staff that is designated to work and maintain your site. Then start to load, load, load, because a gemstone ecommerce site is worthless if it does not make many items available to your customers.
Images make all the difference
Even more laborious and concerning is the quality of the images and or videos that you place on your site. The ongoing cost of this aspect of your ecommerce store is more than the cost to create it and with colored gemstones as your subject it is the most important. It is not like selling diamonds where white is white and a commoditized material is judged not by its image but more by its certificate.
Selling color takes a good photographer so that your site accurately communicates to your customer what the actual gemstone looks like in person. Videos are slowly becoming the norm as it gives your customer a better feel for the stone rather than one or two images shot with the subjectivity of a selected light source. There are many companies that you can hire to do this for you and or of course you can set up a small studio in your office and hire a full or part item photographer. I know I’m making this sound rather intimidating but the truth is creating a colored gemstone ecommerce site is no easy task and you are better off being prepared for the undertaking.
Is it all worth it? Well it is too early for me to tell but I personally do not see another avenue when you consider more and more business is being done via the internet every year. Don’t fret you can still do trade show after trade show even while you have an ecommerce website.