The “go-live” of an e-commerce site is a key milestone, but it is just the beginning of a long-term journey. And while more distributors are moving in the right direction, according to the 2016 State of E-Commerce Survey, many may also suffer from "irrational exuberance" about how long it will take to reach maturity.
In 2015, 52 percent of survey respondents said that less than 5 percent of their total revenues came from e-commerce. In contrast, only 34 percent expect to have that low a level of revenue from e-commerce in 2016.
The problem, according to Dean Mueller and Jonathan Bein of Real Results Marketing, is that a realistic plan for achieving 5 percent of revenue or more from e-commerce usually takes two to three years after launching a program.
Distributors need to approach e-commerce with patience and persistence because there will be kinks in the system that need to be worked through. And it's not just about technology. In most instances, a distributor must modify fulfillment processes for orders received through online channels. If, for example, you're expecting local branches to provide fulfillment for those orders, how will they prioritize online orders compared to local branch orders? Are they prepared to accommodate orders from this new channel?
Read more about the results from the 2016 State of E-Commerce Survey in E-Commerce Races to Maturity.