When most of us think of e-commerce, the first thing that usually comes to mind is buying and selling goods online. It’s a business model that has played an important role in powering the digital revolution, and one that continues to influence countless industries. However, there’s much more to e-commerce than brands selling their products online.
E-commerce for services in 2023
What about e-commerce for services? Not just digital services, either I'm talking about selling services online that will be delivered offline.
Perhaps you’ve heard that you can sell services on the Shopify platform and it definitely won't surprise you that it's also possible to sell services on Amazon, too.
Technically, any service can be sold online, and whether you’re a teacher, real estate agent, investment advisor, dog walker, house cleaner, or anything else for that matter; you can use online sales to boost revenues and take your business to the next level.
Services are generally sold in one of two ways: indirectly and directly. Selling them indirectly is what most businesses do; they use websites to promote their services and attract prospective customers with a promise and a brand identity. Direct selling, on the other hand, is about giving potential clients the opportunity to order and even pay for services directly on your website.
Benefits of selling service online
There are clear benefits to taking a direct approach selling services online, and once you choose this route, there are e-commerce tools that can both simplify and make this process much more effective.
Photography service price calculator example.
✔ Automate your work
First, direct selling allows you to automate your work. Unlike businesses selling products that can be stored until they are sold, service providers can only offer as much of their services as time allows. If you let potential clients use your website to see which services you offer and then choose and book them, you’re saving yourself a lot of time and energy that would otherwise be spent on preparing and sending quotes.
Having calculating forms on your website can automate this process and provide potential clients with immediate answers to basic inquiries and ultimately, let them arrange for your services by themselves.
✔ Cost transparency - brings a customer one step closer to placing an order
Direct selling might also allow you to build a database of potential customers. Believe it or not, people sometimes feel uncomfortable asking about prices for services if they aren’t listed. For example they want to know if their wedding budget is enough to cover your services? What can end up happening in this case is that a potential customer will just leave your page and continue along their search without providing you with any contact info. If you give potential customers a tools to calculate the price of your services, you're not only giving them cost transparency, but you’re also bringing them one step closer to placing an order or contacting you about further questions they may have.
✔ Collect potential sales leads
What's more, if you let them use a calculator to generate a quote, you can send them a copy of this calculation and keep a copy for yourself, which can be used to grow your potential clients database.
✔ Allow customers to place orders by themselves
Finally, using a calculator to support e-commerce for services can allow customers to place orders by themselves and let them make payments directly through your website. By this time, you’ve already given them all the information they need in a transparent and up-front manner, and have increased your chances of turning a lead into a customer just by having a fairly straightforward tool do more of legwork on behalf of your business.
On the market, you can explore various CPQ (Configure, Price, Quote) examples for the product customization industry whether it is a product customization apps or web-to-print tools, allowing customers to get instant price, preview customized product, and order it.
Whay this shouldn't work for service sales? Having the same tool help your customers identify their needs and then order and pay for the services they require is invaluable. And quite frankly, once you’ve gone this route as a customer, it quickly becomes a convenient standard and expectation for any other type of online service shopping.
Ready to sell services online?
Here are four basic steps to start selling your services online. I follow these steps every time I create a new calculator, whatever is be for a service or product.
01. Analyze a list of your services
It's always better to start with one or a few most popular services. Think about services from a sales point of view. What questions are asked most often, especially those that are related to service cost estimation? Review your price list, define what is your base service, its price, and what might be listed as extras.
02. Define pricing
When you sell services online it's vitally important to define the right setup of default values for a calculator. A potential customer should have the opportunity to change the price in both directions. If you start with the lowest price preset, a customer might be irritated that you just provide a ‘bare’ service and hide actual costs under upsell extras.
On the other hand, the default setup of a calculator with a maximum of services might frighten customer with an ‘initial’ price of service that seems too high. So, the best way is to define initial service and price as an optimal or most popular solution. A win-win situation always works best ;)
An example of Instant quote calculator with payment.
03. Build and add service price calculator to your website
Create a calculator that will represent pricing of your service. It might sound like a complex task, but believe it or not, it’s fairly straightforward. Take a look at our Knowledge Base to find out how to build calculator step by step.
Add your service calculator to your website. If you have multiple services, place a calculator on the page with the relevant service. It's the most relevant place because a calculator supported by service marketing material will become the main customer conversion point.
If you provide a single service the best place to embed a service price calculator would be the homepage of your website. More traffic gives more interactions with a calculator, this drives a higher volume of sales leads and orders. Find our more about interactive calculators.
04. Review and update constantly
Service calculators are great conversion tools and and they should always be up-to-date with your business and customer needs.
After some time you might find that some of the extras don't appear in sales leads or orders. Maybe one or more of them are not more relevant anymore? Too expensive? Too many options to select from? Rename, change prices, position in a list, even remove it altogether.
Test different initial calculator setups, look for examples. It might help to increase the value of your average order. Turn extra services on or off. Test things step-by-step, and avoid doing multiple changes at a time. And set a reasonable time frame to measure results.
If you already have a specific calculator or an example that you want to recreate check out our article about recreating a calculator from excel.
Why interactive calculators are used in e-commerce for services?
Interactive calculators possess unique features that offer distinct advantages over traditional static content. Here are reasons why many choose to integrate it to their e-shops:
Personalized Insights: Each user has a unique set of circumstances. With interactive calculators, users can adjust parameters to fit their specific situation, leading to tailored insights that generic tables or guidelines can't provide.
Scenario Analysis: Users can play with different variables to understand various scenarios. For instance, adjusting interest rates or down payment amounts on a mortgage calculator can help users gauge different financial landscapes.
Engagement and Retention: The act of interacting leads to a higher level of user engagement. Users are more likely to spend more time on a webpage and remember the information if they are actively participating rather than just passively reading.
Lead Generation: Many companies use interactive calculators as a soft lead generation tool. After receiving their personalized results, users may be prompted to provide their email to receive a detailed breakdown, for example.
Reduced Cognitive Load: Instead of processing static information and doing manual calculations, users can get complex results with a few simple inputs. This makes decision-making faster and less prone to errors.
Interactivity as a Value Proposition: Offering an interactive tool can differentiate a business from competitors. It can be perceived as added value, showcasing the company's commitment to user experience.
Direct Path to Conversion: After using a calculator and getting a personalized result, a clear call-to-action can guide users to the next steps, whether it's making a purchase, booking a service, or contacting a representative.
CALCONIC_ as an extension of e-commerce for services
As a tool that helps you build a calculator and integrate it easily and seamlessly into your website, Calconic does a lot to support direct selling and make it easier for both a business and their clients, so both parties can focus primarily on the service in question.
Our calculators can make even the most complex pricing systems simple and transparent, and can account for different pricing options, all while letting your website visitors make calculations on their own.
It’s a great way to build trust and confidence because your customers know what they’re getting for their money. Having the option to place orders and accept payments directly on your website truly contributes to the idea of direct selling.
And you can build and put a calculator to the test on your website for free!
E-commerce for services brings clear benefits to your business:
- Interactive calculators helps automate your work
- Service price calculator makes pricing fully transparent
- Enables payment collection
- Lead capturing calculators grow a database of potential clients
It’s not only about standing out from the pack, but also putting the focus on your service, and not the process of acquiring and paying for your service.
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