The Importance of E-Commerce for Business
In 2019, e-commerce retail sales in Canada accounted for $49.80 billion annually, which is a 21.1 percent increase when compared to the 2018 sales. In the modern world, especially with COVID-19 running rampant, more businesses are moving their brick-and-mortar stores online to meet the ever-growing demand.
If your business only offers its products or services through a physical location, you are limiting the number of potential customers you could be reaching. The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have made it so consumers are opting to stay inside instead of visiting their favourite stores, meaning they’re choosing to spend their money online instead.
All businesses operate differently, but understanding the advantages of e-commerce and how it can align with your business goals may be a great place to start!
Reasons to Choose E-Commerce?
1. Direct selling:
You don’t have to worry about handing off your promotional material to a retailer, and you can focus on owning the relationship you build with each customer.
You can receive customer data right in the platform you utilize (ex. Shopify, Squarespace). Use those insights to create ad campaigns, product recommendations, and discounted product offerings based on popularity.
Personalization becomes streamlined when you can obtain a customer profile right after purchase. All types of personalization are attainable from custom packaging, promotional emails, and providing customer support seamlessly.
2. Mobile First:
Most e-commerce websites can be optimized for mobile usage to cater to shoppers who prefer to purchase items on their smartphones or tablets.
Search results are favoured with Google if your website is mobile-optimized, which can improve your sales funnel and generate more conversions.
Integrating your store with Instagram’s shoppable posts can increase traffic to your website to complete purchases.
If you have any repetitive and manually completed tasks that take up too much of your time, you can schedule ahead of time or using automation tools to get those tasks complete.
Some tasks that can be automated are flash sales, data reporting, inventory alerts, and triggering workflows.
In an online world, it is vital to prevent any fraudulent orders to come through with automated fraud protection. Most e-commerce platforms have this feature built-in.
Overhead costs of a traditional brick-and-mortar store are exponentially higher than online stores. E-commerce plans start from $29 USD with most platforms.
Holding inventory can be done through fulfillment centres in your local neighbourhood or through online retail giants like Amazon and eBay. You can use this option instead of carrying your inventory in a warehouse or store and not having to package or ship your products.
Advertising and promotional efforts are relatively cheaper through social media and online ads placed on a website when compared to traditional forms of media like print and billboards.
Since platforms create customer profiles once a conversion is complete, the more information you have at your fingertips, the easier it is to make decisions in real-time.
Physical stores don’t have access to as much customer data as online stores do. For example, with one purchase, you can see your customer’s demographic data, viewed products, the referring source, time spent on the website, and much more.
Integrating your store with Google Analytics allows you to gain more detailed information about the customers coming to your store and optimize for future customers.
6. Expanded Audience:
Physical stores have many costs associated with any expansion efforts in terms of scaling or moving locations.
It is easy to enter new markets to advertise and sell products as long as the website is in the countries respective language, currency and is eligible to be sold in that specific market.
As you enter different markets, you can make new stores under the same brand name offering different products or services suitable to the market you are trying to serve.
7. No Time Restraints:
Your products will be available 24/7 to customers to purchase from you — once you complete the legwork for image placement and descriptions, all you have to do is strategically promote your products through social media.
Online customer service can be automated or streamlined with bots, FAQs, and tutorials. If customers have easy to solve issues, these platforms can take care of it, and for more in-depth topics, you can call or chat with the customer at your earliest convenience.
It can offer as many products as you want without having to worry about inventory space, visual merchandising, and the time it takes to replenish stock. The product lists and pages are limitless as long as you have the bandwidth to fulfill the orders.
8. Pandemic Proof:
Most stores that are proving to perform the best during times of uncertainty are retail giants like Amazon, Walmart, and major brands that have shifted their offerings online.
With the concern of catching the virus, people want to feel safe and buy products from the comfort of their homes without having to put themselves at risk.
Point-of-sale (POS) sales are still doable with an online store with the provided terminals from the e-commerce platform you choose. They could purchase at your store and have it delivered right to their homes.
We hope all this information simplifies your transition and gives you useful information to keep your business running smoothly.
Share this with any small businesses that could benefit from this listicle!