Whether you are looking to start a new retail business, expand an existing one, or add a new channel to your retail operations, here are a few reasons why ecommerce makes sense.
1. It’s growing. Statistics have shown a steady growth in the segment with each passing year. An earlier Forrester report predicted that ecommerce sales would touch the $250 billion mark by 2014. Last year, we saw unprecedented growth in ecommerce with $199.4 billion in ecommerce sales in the third quarter alone according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
2. It’s big. The beauty of ecommerce is that you don’t need to be physically present everywhere to sell to your customers. Your customers can be on the other side of the country and still buy your products. With ecommerce, you gain a wider audience and open up your products and services to anyone with purchasing power.
3. It’s start-up friendly. Ecommerce startup costs are relatively minimal compared to setting up a brick and mortar store. With a smart business plan, the right web hosting, great design, and sound technical support, you can get your business up and running on a budget.
4. It’s convenient. It’s not just the ease of being able to shop anytime and from anywhere. With consumers going digital and spending more time on smartphones and tablets, ecommerce offers even quicker access. Over 62 percent of mobile phone users access the internet from their phones, so retailers who adapt to ecommerce are bound to stay ahead.
5. It favors niche markets. The key to a successful retail business is to find a niche market with a want and need for your product and/or service. With ecommerce, carving out that niche, finding customers, and getting discovered becomes easier, thanks to search, SEO, PPC campaigns, and easy interactions on forums, websites, and blogs.
6. It gives you good data. No handshakes here – leave that to the brick and mortar guys! You get to really know your customers online: their shopping behaviors, preferences, previous purchases, and more. Each time they shop or browse your website, or even click to open a newsletter or banner ad, customers leave a little digital footprint. With it, you can capture valuable data that can help you anticipate what your customer wants and give them a personalized experience the next time around.
7. It makes merchandising better. Ecommerce makes it easier for you to offer a wide range of products. Since your products are displayed virtually and stored in a warehouse or drop-shipped directly from the supplier, you don’t have to worry about making shelf space. Plus, since your transactions happen online, you can offer a range of digital products that can be downloaded, too.