You’ve heard all about the importance of a website for informational purposes, but this is not their only use. E-commerce is on the rise! If you have a product to sell why not sell it online? Or the better question, why should you sell it online? That is what this post will be addressing. What is e-commerce? Why should I even consider leaving or adding to the traditional model? What are the benefits? Well, here you go:
What is E-commerce?
In the broadest sense of the word, e-commerce (or electronic commerce) is any sort of business deal or exchange done over the internet, however for our purposes, we are going to focus on retail. So, in this sense, you have the selling of products by companies large and small to consumers over the world wide web. E-commerce shops dot the entire web and happen to be the focus of a major movement that is centered in North American and Western Europe. E-commerce, though, not really a new phenomenon, is growing quite rapidly.
E-commerce on the Rise
Now, I have told you that e-commerce is becoming far more popular, but how about some statistics. In 2012 over $231 billion were spent on online shopping in the United States alone. The projection for 2013 is $262 billion; this number is a 13% rise from 2012. Still not convinced? Analysts are anticipating a 10% rise per year until at least 2017. Soon nearly 50% of all shopping will be conducted via the web. 80% of all internet users have made at least one purchase online. 50% have made at least two.
E-commerce and Your Business
The statistics are undeniable, but it may still seem unnecessary for a small shop or retail business to have an online presence. Taking a look at the benefits of ecommerce for small business will be telling in this case.
The first benefit is time. Online shopping is much faster than traditional, in store shopping. The travel time it takes to the store or the time required to choose or check out in an actual storefront is much longer than that of online purchasing. This will encourage your customers to buy, even if they have packed schedules.
The second advantage is all day service. An internet store is open 24/7, and customers can buy at any time they like without having to worry about business hours or their work schedule.
Another important benefit is accessibility. All people everywhere can access an online page and purchase your products, not just locals.
The price of an e-commerce site also makes it very appealing. Storefronts are very expensive because of the cost of monthly rent and an employee to watch the counter. With online sites, fees are low. Even paying for web design or upkeep is a minor percentage of what it would cost to keep up a storefront. The price is also good for your clients; they do not have to pay for gas to drive to the store and prices can be kept low for them because of the money you are saving.
Another benefit to the online model is that it allows your customers to get the full description of the product. They can obtain far more information than if they were shopping in store.
The final important reason to consider embracing a retail site is that it can be found over a search engine if you are search engine optimize (SEO). This will increase your client base.
So, now you can see that e-commerce certainly has some benefits for small businesses looking to specifically sell products. Keep your business in mind!