Have you seen our newly launched site? It's really quite incredible. We worked on designs and development of our publication for well over 6 months and I can't tell you how much time we spent. The issue was simply that we couldn't develop fast enough of finish quick enough. In my opinion, anyone building a theme from scratch today is doing a disservice to the business they're working with.
I was able to go out and spend $59 on a digital magazine theme, built a custom theme for our custom integrations, re-skinned the branding of the theme, and I was up and running within the week. We're still going to roll out some additional integrations, like our Podcast and a White Paper library, but you'd be amazed at what came with the theme.
One aspect that was a must was that it came with WooCommerce fully integrated. Woo, along with its themes and commerce engine, was recently purchased by Automattic – the company that owns WordPress. In my humble opinion, I believe it's a brilliant decision. Why? Because I predict that every single company – either B2B to B2C – will have some aspect of self-service ordering through the web.
Retailers and ecommerce companies are already onto it. One resounding drum beat at IRCE in Chicago was that it wasn't about selling on your store on your site. It was about selling through everyone else's store on every other site. Small retailers have logistical systems, content systems, and fulfillment systems that allow them to sell across dozens of stores online aside from their own.
The fact is that consumers (and businesses) come to trust the site they purchase from. If you're buying on Amazon frequently, you're not going to buy aftermarket floor mats from some guy on the Internet. But if that guy on the Internet is selling his floor mats on Amazon as well, you'll buy them.
You're already losing sales online
Before heading up to Chicago, I got an email from Nationwide insurance that I needed to pay my car bill. I logged into my account, and couldn't find a way to pay the bill. I returned to work and figured I'd call my agent later. A couple days later, I received another notice that my insurance would lapse unless I paid my bill. I logged on and tried again to no avail – I couldn't even find a pay my bill button on their new clean interface. I set a reminder to call my agent.
The next day, I went to work and got busy and never called my agent. When I got home, sure enough there was an email that my insurance would be expiring that night at midnight because I hadn't paid my bill. Not good… I was driving to Chicago the next day and I wasn't going to be uninsured.
So I flipped my browser over to Geico. After a few minutes, I received a real-time quote and a nice fat button to buy the policy. I clicked the button and it stated that they'd be sending me some paperwork via mail and once I filled it in, my policy would be live. You have to be kidding me.
Next up – Progressive. I entered my information and they pre-populated my automobile information for both me and my daughter. A few clicks later and I had a new policy and insurance card to put in my car. It took about 10 minutes… and I actually did save money. This surprised me since I'd been with Nationwide for over 20 years.
Did Nationwide lose me because of its insurance? No, I didn't mind their insurance and I really liked my agent. They lost me simply because I couldn't serve myself online.
Your business and my business is no different. Our new site is fully commerce capable and we will begin selling both products and services direct to our readers. I have no doubt that this will be a growing revenue stream for us moving forward and that the hands-on agency service we currently provide so many clients will slowly subside.
I don't care if you're mowing lawns or doing divorces – just as people predicted that every company would be a publisher, my prediction is that every company will have an ecommerce site sooner rather than later!