Looking for a product or brand online and checking reviews is practically a standard. A company website plays the role of the shop window, drawing the attention of potential customers and presenting your brand to the world. A well-structured website brings you more customers and makes you stand out from the crowd. Making your goods available online increases your chances of selling them to a significantly higher number of people in fact data from OptiMonster’s shows that 93.5% of global internet users have bought products online.
Online presence not only supports your business but also helps with brand awareness and promotion. You are more visible to potential customers, therefore more people visit your e-commerce store or hear about your brand, then buy your products or services and recommend them to others by leaving reviews or sharing their experience on social media. This way you win loyal customers across the globe whilst running a business from home. You are not limited to your local market.
If you run a small to medium enterprise and are still hesitating about whether to invest in digital transformation, here is a comprehensive list describing the most significant e-commerce benefits.
1. Increased sales
24*7/365 availability of goods and unlimited customer reach generate more sale. When you aren’t limited to the local market or to physical store capacity, you automatically sell more and can adjust your stock to your customers’ needs. You can provide your services or sell goods abroad by adjusting prices to the global market. By spending less of your budget running a store and making more capital at the same time, you can save a significant amount of money and expand your business faster.
2. Reduced operational expenses
E-commerce is the most economical way to grow your retail business. It doesn’t require high levels of initial capital and it’s very cost-effective. Most of the investment is repaid by early sales profits.
From a long-term perspective buying a domain and hosting or paying for web development and good e-commerce service is less expensive than buying or renting physical business premises. Some e-commerce platforms provide sellers with drop-shipping services, which helps cut storage and delivery expenses. Chatbots can support you with customer enquiries and automation keeps all the inventory and finances in one place so you don’t have to spend money on additional software.
3. Increased availability of products and services
With products and services listed online, retailers have a better chance to reach out their customers and promote their businesses. Your products and services are constantly visible as e-commerce platforms offer online listings and price comparison. Moreover, you can serve those who couldn’t find items locally and decided to turn to the internet to source the product. As websites are visual, online stores also give you limitless opportunities to present your items in an aesthetically pleasing way and stand out from the crowd.
4. A broader range of customers
There is no doubt that e-commerce platforms help sellers reach buyers globally and sell their goods on the wider market. You’re scaling the business globally and being online means that you can sell to people all over the world. There is no limit to whom and where you reach. Broadening your business horizons not only earns you more money but helps your business grow.
5. Simplified buying process
The most convenient aspect of e-commerce is that the customer can purchase directly from you after searching for an item online, without leaving home or interacting with a salesperson. Consumers expect goods to be available instantly, e-stores answer that needs. Because buying online doesn’t require a visit to a retail store and products can be shipped from any place in the world, consumers aren’t limited to shops in their local vicinity and spend less time shopping. That’s what makes e-commerce an attractive alternative for them. As a retailer, you need to meet them online and give them what they’re looking for.
E-commerce platforms offer full automation, including finance systems, inventory, shipping and customer service. That means everything is in one place and can easily be managed by one person at their convenience. Chatbots can help you out with most enquiries and artificial intelligence provides a personal touch into this communication. These simple solutions give you more time to grow your business and keep your customers happy at the same time, and all of this without hiring additional team members.
7. Derive benefit from customer advocacy
Whisper marketing works very well online and helps spread the word about your brand globally. People depend heavily on reviews and others’ opinions. They are more likely to buy a particular product from a particular seller if it was recommended by someone famous, someone they know or someone they can identify with. The Digital Marketing Institute shows that 49% of consumers rely on influencer recommendations and 40% have purchased goods after seeing them on social media.
8. Lower advertising costs
Customer advocacy and increased brand awareness help reduce marketing and advertising costs. As word spreads quickly on the Internet you can reach potential customers with every review of your product or opinion about your brand left on Google or other independent consumer review websites. Moreover, product listings on e-commerce platforms make your goods visible to a potential customer. Your products can be showcased using photos, videos banners or GIFs. There is an entire set of affordable tools available for you to promote your products. Not to mention that e-commerce platforms are very well positioned in Google and the algorithms ensure that whatever is listed on websites will be ranked highly in the search results.
According to KPMG, the main reason people buy online is that they can do it whenever they want from anywhere on the planet. This feature makes the shopping experience very easy and convenient. It allowed e-commerce to thrive during the Pandemic when people were stuck at home unable to buy in physical stores. But it’s not just buyers who benefit from e-commerce flexibility. Solutions like service automation or AI software give retailers more freedom when selling online.
10. Analysis of consumer behaviour
Imagine being able to predict what and when will be bought from you. Imagine you can tailor your offer to each customer’s needs. Imagine you can guide your customers to buy certain products. These things aren’t entirely possible when running a physical store but can be achieved with an online store. A variety of analytics tools and the newest AI software gives you insights into consumer buying habits and helps you to not only personalise the offer but also respond quickly to your customers’ needs and changing trends. That’s one small step towards greater sales.
Slowly taking over retail during the past decade, e-commerce has suddenly become the only viable to reach out the customers when public health measures forced store closures. The Covid-19 pandemic has drastically and possibly permanently changed buyer behaviour in the past 12 months. The online store became essential for retail businesses and buying online became a necessity. Despite the circumstances, it’s a win-win solution and this sudden change comes with some significant benefits for both customers and sellers. To name a few: greater accessibility to products and service simplification of the buying process, greater reach and most importantly flexibility. These factors make it a perfect fit for all. So why not give it a go?