Many think that e-commerce is either super complicated, OR they think it is not really a store – in the traditional sense. Well, e-commerce is NOT super complicated; and e-commerce is NOT a traditional store – it is oftentimes BETTER than a brick and mortar store. Let’s look at the benefits of selling via e-commerce then you can decide if this route is a viable way for YOUR business.
E-commerce – some think it is a thing of the future, some think it is just a passing phase. Well, online shopping is NOT in the future – it is happening now, and at staggering increases yearly. Online shopping is NOT a phase – it is the current and desirable way of shopping for both the younger and older generation. Why you ask? Good question – let’s explore the various aspects of e-commerce.
Talk to anyone about shopping and you will get various answers. Some love to get all dressed up, hop in the car, drive to the various stores and shopping malls, zip in and browse the stores looking for that must-have item or super bargain, and many can do these activities all day long. But many do NOT like those things, and if it means not having items, well, they would rather take a punch to the gut than fight physical crowds of people and walk for what seems like hours only to find some small item, usually NOT what they wanted to purchase, then limp back home to fall on the couch and vow NEVER to go shopping again. It is for these people that e-commerce is both desirable and a blessing.
According to statistics, online shopping is the fastest growing retail market in both North America and Europe. How fast, you ask? In 2016, there were an estimated 211 MILLION online shoppers in the United States alone – yes, that is MILLION. With estimated global retail sales of $1.915 trillion for 2016 accounting for about 8.7% of global retail sales, that number alone should make you stop and think. When was the last time YOUR business sold anywhere near these staggering amounts? I will wager NEVER.
Ok – now your attention has been grabbed. Now what?
Your E-Commerce Store – Make It Special
Thinking about the numbers quoted, maybe you are ready to dive headfirst into your first online store. That’s all great and wonderful but just like a brick and mortar store, you must plan, build, organize, and manage an online store – usually more so because the competition is fierce online, and YOU must stand out. That statement deflated the bubble, I know, but e-commerce is a hugely profitable venture – if done correctly and with patience and diligence.
Most people are not that great at planning, building and creating an online store. That’s OK – hire someone who is great at these activities. Just like you would not start building a physical store from block and concrete, you don’t usually build your online store by shopping online, taking shortcuts at free websites with lousy pictures and product descriptions, and being clueless on how to SEO optimize your website. If that is your potential approach, you would do better to become a paid employee for a company because if you just jump without knowing how things work, well, your failure is guaranteed.
So, find a company that specializes in building e-commerce stores; one that is highly rated; hire that company to build, photography and write killer product descriptions; a company that researches and knows that competition that you will be facing; let them build that special online shopping site; and pay the extra cash to promote, promote, and promote some more. Your online presence MUST be outstanding else you fall through the cracks with many other online vendors.
Think Like Your Potential Customer
Still not convinced that e-commerce is a viable way to go? Think like your potential customer – think like a typical online shopper.
The average online shopper can shop 24/7 if they want to. They can shop in their pajamas; they can shop while the kids are in school or asleep in their beds; they can shop whenever. They can shop for HOURS without leaving their home because they can take their time and look through page after page of products. They can stop and go do chores such as cooking or the laundry then they can come right back to the spot they left and look and want some more. When was the last time anyone could do THAT while shopping at a physical store?
A relaxed shopper is oftentimes an impulse buyer. If they have all day or all week or even all month to look, want, and drool over your products, that impulsive nature often gets them to add items to their online shopping cart even if the item is non-essential. An estimated 90% of shoppers admit that they purchase items that are NOT on their shopping list. And a home based online shopper could very well make your e-commerce store a true shopper’s heaven.
Make It Easy for Potential Customers
Your mind is now churning with the possibilities of a coveted successful online store. With the mind-blowing amount of daily online shopping transactions, a successful online business strives to make their website easy for customers to use.
Items are categorized in eye-appealing arrangements; product descriptions are true and accurate; payment options are varied from various credit cards to debit cards to commonly used payment vendors such as PayPal; shopping cart cleanup and/or saving items for a later date – these are ways to make things easy for customers. Throw in some customer service perks like free shipping, easy returns or exchanges, and online chat, well, you are on your way to ranking high both with your customers and as an online retail presence.
The customer is always right – remember that important tip. And a happy, relaxed and consistent customer is what every business wants – regardless if you are a traditional physical store or online e-commerce store.
Ready to Get Started on Your E-Commerce Store?
Are you ready to hit the ground running and get started on YOUR e-commerce store but unsure exactly which direction to head first? Need some assistance and/or guidance as you navigate the cyber waters? We can provide information and services to help you in building your online digital retail presence. For more information on the services that we can provide, visit us https://emergingentrepreneur.org/get-started/. The online world is your oyster – are you ready to proceed?