Ecommerce Reconsidered: Why You Might Need a Shopping Cart After All
Trade marketplace and aggregation channels are not a fit for many professional publishing segments. Professionals in such fields as law, healthcare, and engineering, do not buy authoritative professional content through consumer marketplaces. Professionals have focused interests and have little motivation to buy omnibus offerings from aggregation channels that serve institutional librarians. Professionals and corporate librarians already know the publishers that are authoritative in their fields, and do in fact start their product search with these authoritative publishers. Ecommerce is the most relevant approach for publishers who wish to pursue non-academic enterprise and professional market opportunities.
Customers of educational publishers are grumbling for change. Educators and educational institutions have expressed a desire for greater flexibility in what and how they buy. They seem to feel locked in by the traditional adoption of a single comprehensive text, and have communicated a desire for acquiring publisher content in smaller chunks, sometimes referred to as learning objects. In order to fulfill the vision of modular content offerings, educational publishers need to not only create content in a more flexible fashion, but to be able to sell it in a more dynamic, nimble fashion: just-in-time sales and just-in-time delivery. The long-cycle textbook adoption sales model is incompatible with the learning object product vision.
For all customer types, an ecommerce site is not just a place to buy, but also a place to check on order status, to see what is new from the publisher, and to administer their customer profile information. A company that provides a well-designed commerce experience is seen as providing a higher level of service to customers.
How Much Ecommerce Revenue Are You NOT Getting?
With significantly lowered implementation and operating costs, and increasing evidence that suggests higher revenue can be expected from ecommerce, it is critical that all publishers reassess decisions they have made in the area of ecommerce, as some key assumptions may have changed.