It’s no secret that people love to shop online. Apart from avoiding long lines and long trips, many times finding exactly what you need, can only be done in the online world. The truth is, people are shopping online now more than ever. According to statisca.com, online global B2B (business to business) and B2C (business to customer) sales amounted to $1.2 trillion in 2013 and are expected to reach over $2 trillion in the next five years. Amazon, many people’s go-to online shopping site, reported sales over $67 billion in 2013. And while large retailers are benefiting from consumers shopping online, many entrepreneurs and small business owners are seeing the same benefits. According to entrepreneur.com, 64 percent of small businesses that sell online said they also saw an increase in sales. Should you take advantage of this trend? Absolutely, and not just because everyone is doing it. Here are five more reasons you should really consider eCommerce.
1. There are no boundaries or physical limitations
As a customer, there have probably been times you can’t find what you are looking for at your local store. As a business owner, there have also probably been times you know people would want your product if they just had access to it. ECommerce can bridge both of these gaps. Customers that don’t have access so certain areas can just hop online and find virtually anything they are looking. Even better they can have it delivered. Small businesses that once only had access to foot traffic in and around their area now get access to a large amount of potential customers thanks to eCommerce. With selling online, you open your doors to more potential customers as well as establish more credibility with a web presence. ECommerce lets the whole world be your playground.
2. You’re always open
Although your employees are probably glad you have closing hours, your customers might not be. Many shoppers simply can’t take advantage of regular hours retailers tend to have. Whether because of work, kids, or social obligations, some people have no choice but to do most of their shopping online. Even if a customer would rather buy from your store, if they can’t get to it they will simply go elsewhere.
3. You can cross-sell items
Need batteries with that flashlight? Cross-selling is when you recommend a customer bundle his or her purchase with other items that typically go together. On websites like Amazon, this can be seen in their “customers also bought…” section that details other items people coupled their purchase with. According to analyst on Forrester.com, product recommendations are responsible for 10-30% of eCommerce sites revenue. Simply put, this is a great way to introduce customers to other products they may not have known you offered. Suggesting combined purchased can also help you promote sales and discounts. Many retailers take 10-20% off of an overall purchase order when items are combined and even offer free shipping.
4. Better email marketing
When making online sales, it is a lot easier, and many times necessary, to get someone’s email address to complete the purchase. Email marketing seems old fashioned to some, but this medium is alive and well. Not only is email marketing cost effective by helping save on the cost of newspaper ads, mail coupons, and brochures, but according to copyblogger.com it also provides you the most direct line of communication for conversions to sales. The Direct Marketing Associate estimates a 4300% return on investment when it comes to this type of marketing. Many customers also forget or lose physical coupons, which is frustrating when they need them most. With a digital version, they can have quick access to their discounts with just a few clicks. This is just one of the reasons email marketing works.
5. Data Tracking
Data tracking for a small business is absolutely essential, and nowadays it’s easier than ever to do. With eCommerce tools like Google Analytics, you are only a few clicks away from seeing when your customers are shopping most, how long they are shopping for, where they are shopping from, and what items and deals are most popular. For anyone looking to expand his or her business, this data is incredibly useful. You can see and track which products to focus on, which to cut, and what new product you may want to roll out in the future.
When it comes to eCommerce, the future is now. Major retailers have started paying more and more attention to their web presence because they have seen the importance consumers put on it. Luckily, as a small business owner, you can take advantage of this trend too. It’s always important to make sure you are giving your customers all the resources they need to find your product and enjoy your product, and eCommerce let’s you do just that.