Michael Aldrich first introduced the concept of online shopping back in 1979 – and online shopping has grown at a steady pace since then.
- In 2014, 76% of Canadians shopped online.
- eCommerce sales grow 10% each year in the US alone and 19% worldwide.
- Worldwide online retail sales are expected to reach $1.915 trillion this year.
- According to Mintel, 69% of US adults shop online at least monthly, and 33% shop online weekly.
Despite the booming industry, only a portion of businesses sell their goods and services online; there are 12-24 million eCommerce stores around the world today, and only 650,000 stores are selling more than $1000 each year.
If you’re not selling online, you could be missing out on sales.
Consumers love online shopping
Today’s modern consumer craves convenience and choice. With brick-and-mortar stores, consumers are confined to set hours and local proximity. Online stores cater to the busy consumer as they’re accessible 24/7 – from the comfort of their own home or on the go with their mobile devices. With options like same-day shipping and in-store pickup, online shopping facilitates convenience. With access to an array of products that may not be readily available where they live, consumers enjoy a wider selection of products when they shop online. Online shopping is instant and always available; customers have a choice of when, where, and how to purchase their products.
You’ll reap benefits too
Opening an online store can benefit your business in a number of ways. Here are the top 10:
- Omni-channel growth: An eCommerce store is an additional channel that you can sell and interact with your customers on. Having an omnichannel business means seamless experiences and personalized interactions while meeting customers at every touch point. Consumers move across multiple channels when purchasing; they conduct research online before they buy in-store (webrooming), making an online channel a crucial addition to your business.
- Expanded customer base: The world is your market. With a physical store, you’re limited by geographical constraints but with an online website, you can sell your products and services globally, expanding your customer base. You’ll gain a new source of customers who are only a click away. By bringing your store onto the web, you have the luxury of using SEO to maximize visibility, ensuring consumers discover and visit your website. An online store can help you access new markets and increase revenue. Good SEO will help build your brand awareness as well; optimized keywords will help you get found on the web and drive new traffic to your site. Check out this Kissmetrics’ article on how to optimize your SEO for your online business.
- Personalized communication: Online analytics give you access a plethora of information about your visitors such as their buying habits and preferences. In turn, you can use this valuable data to better upsell to your customers by tailoring relevant messages like related items or suggested products.
- Constant availability: Your online store is open 24/7, which equates to increased sales. If consumers want to indulge in some late night shopping, they can.
- Automated systems: From inventory management to payment processing, you can rest easy knowing that your processes are automated. You can easily keep track of real-time inventory numbers and adjust accordingly.
- Better informed customers: Consumers are turning to the web to conduct their research before they buy. With an online store, you can provide detailed product descriptions to help consumers make an informed decision.
- Social proof: Increase social proof and encourage feedback with email receipts. Make it as easy as possible for happy customers to leave reviews on sites like Yelp or promote products via social media online.
- Better customer service: Implement live chats, FAQ pages, and contact info on your online store to better serve your customers.
- Low start-up costs: The cost to start an online business is significantly lower than the overhead to start a brick-and-mortar business. If you’re already selling offline, the transition will be easier.
- Increased sales: Mintel reports that consumers are averaging $114 per online order, with 48% of online shoppers admitting to occasionally increasing the size of their orders to hit the free shipping threshold.
If you’re ready to open an eCommerce store, below are some articles to get you started:
- From Start to Profit: How to Set Up an eCommerce Store and Generate Sales (Neil Patel)
- How to Start an online Store: Your Complete Checklist (Wix)
- Ecommerce Business Blueprint: How to Build, Launch, and Grow a Profitable Online Store (Shopify)
- Your 10 Point Checklist to Starting an eCommerce Business (Small Business Trends)
After you have your website set up and ready to go, you’ll have to choose a reliable payment partner to accept payments with. Choose a payment processor that offers:
- Fast funding: Typically, you’ll see funds in your account within 1-2 business days.
- Multiple payment channels: An omnichannel business means accepting payments any way your customers want to pay.
- Full PCI compliance: No sensitive information should be stored on your website.
- 24/7 customer support: Get help when you need it.