Nowadays, people prefer to buy things online as opposed to visiting brick and mortar stores. The same thing goes when hiring services, clients favor communicating with companies listed on the internet than personally visiting establishments. Indeed, the e-commerce business has become so popular that it is the number one choice of platform fancied by millions of people all around the globe.
As a small entrepreneur, it is important to create a strong online presence by engaging in e-commerce activities. Regardless of the nature of your trade, doing so will facilitate growth and expand the scope of your business. Although it might seem like a big and risky move to enter the world of online selling, there are many advantages of e-commerce for small business. From widening your customer base to providing choices and lowering operational costs, here are some of the most valid reasons why you should engage in e-commerce.
Widen your customer base
Even if physical stores are located in high traffic areas, you won’t achieve the full potential of your business if you just rely on walk-in customers. Keep in mind that the whole world is out there and the global trade has never been this easily accessible. So, why not spread the word and reach untapped customers? Despite the fact that building a great e-commerce platform doesn’t guarantee huge success, the unwavering possibilities and options for growth are unlimited.
There are many ways to increase your customer base. You can build a social media platform following your company’s culture and run campaigns to attract customers, or set-up a mailing list to send your exclusive offers. The key here is to prioritize the channel you’ve chosen and be consistent when it comes to providing content.
- Use a smart Content Management System (CMS) to manage your content.
- Learn the art of Search Engine Optimization and use keywords correctly.
- Use paid ads to increase traffic and harness the powers of Search Engine Marketing.
Increased online customer presence
According to studies, the majority of shoppers tends to purchase things online rather than in-store. While having a physical store gives customers trust and confidence, nothing beats the convenience of online shopping. 80% of Americans planned to do their holiday shopping through the internet and those numbers are continuously rising. This only proves that the online retail world is here to stay forever.
Even if customers opt to buy things in physical stores, they investigate prices, read reviews, and scrutinize product or service details online before actually making a purchase. Building an online store, even if you have a brick and mortar store, ensures that you are not left behind by major competitors. And it serves as an additional source of revenue, to increase sales and meet targets.
- Develop a cross-channel strategy that is best suited for your business.
- Be an omnichannel and make sure that your platforms are interconnected.
- Instead of opening a second store, consider investing in an online business.
Widen your customers’ options
One of the many advantages of e-commerce for small business is that it gives customers a wide variety of options to choose from. Whether you have a walk-in store, online website, or listings on e-commerce sites, offering your customers the convenience and freedom to choose how they want to do business with you is a huge plus factor.
True, that there are consumers who still prefer the old traditional way of shopping, feeling and seeing things before buying, but building an online store gives them an alternative way to shop for your products and services. Likewise, it provides the flexibility of your business by recognizing the needs of a younger generation – a cool and fun way of buying.
- Open the possibility of ordering things online with an option to pick up at local retailers.
- Create a platform where customers can easily check product availability.
- Partner with local stores so people can claim their orders at the nearest location.
Included on the long list of advantages of e-commerce is that allows you to grow your business without the heavy cost of expansion. Opening a second store is a great idea, but think about the expenditures associated with this move such as rental cost, sourcing of manpower, labor expenses, additional tools, extra equipment, and much more. Yet with e-commerce sites, it doesn’t require a huge amount of money to create a website or sign-up on e-commerce platforms.
Expansion doesn’t necessarily mean opening up another store or creating a chain of businesses. Remember that the overhead of running a physical business can be tricky and challenging. Also, tax regulations differ depending on your state - making sales taxes and income taxes yet another cost you need to look out when planning expansion.
- E-commerce businesses don’t need a team of manpower; one or two people is enough.
- Choose the right e-commerce channel depending on your business and market.
- The savings you’ll get can be used somewhere else, i.e. adding products or services.
Where to start?
The advantages of e-commerce for small business may continue forever and ever but the golden question is – where should I start? If you have never engaged in such online activities, or you don’t have the right tools, to begin with, the good news is that there are services or applications available online that can help you set up a productive e-commerce business.
One company that helps entrepreneurs build an e-commerce site without the stress of technicality is Squarespace. From a stunning portfolio to mobile-friendly websites, award-winning templates, and functional online stores, they have a whole lot to offer. Squarespace equally offers internet marketing tools to help grow your business. Depending on your chosen business model, prices start from $18 to $40 monthly for advanced services.