To launch or not to launch an e commerce website is probably something that every brick and mortar seller is thinking about. In my opinion, there are a few things you need to think through first.
Adjust your expectations
Setting up an e commerce website does NOT mean that customers will flock to it and sales will zoom. First, online retail continues to be a small (although rapidly growing) percentage of overall retail sales. Second, the cost of acquiring a customer online is high and conversion rates are low (hovering at 1% even for well-designed, well-oiled sites) so you will need to be prepared to invest a substantial amount before you see any revenue.
Why you still need an ecommerce store
Stop thinking about your e commerce website as a separate entity and start thinking about the fact that you need to be where your customers are – online! Take small steps, if you are not sure. I don’t know what the status of your current website is but start there. Get your products photographed, showcase them online. Make sure your site is responsive and works well on mobiles. Spread the word through digital and social advertising. Measure how many visitors and enquiries you get. When you see a positive trend and the math makes sense, go to the next step of online fulfillment, where you can apply your learnings from the first phase.