Gone are the days when people had to drive to brick-and-mortar businesses to do their shopping. Today, Americans can review and compare stores and products, and make their purchases, right from the convenience of their smartphones, tablets and computers. The convenience of virtual shopping and online ordering have helped e-commerce sales increase by over 500% since 2010.
This year, consumers will spend more than $650 billion online in the United States, which represents 16% of all retail sales. This is great news if your company’s website has e-commerce capabilities. If it does not, you are missing out some tremendous sales opportunities. This Balboa Capital blog post explains why your business should sell online.
Your business is open 24/7/365.
Before e-commerce, small businesses would generate the bulk of their sales during normal business hours when customers visited their establishments in person. The introduction of e-commerce platforms occurred in the mid-1990s, and it quickly opened the door to new sales opportunities for businesses that added shopping portals and order forms to their websites, and that spread the word with marketing efforts.
When you sell online, your business is always open. Customers from all over the United States can shop on your site regardless of what day or time it is. That means you can sell your products and services during odd hours and on weekends. It is like having a business that never sleeps!
New audiences can be reached.
Every small business owner is constantly looking for ways to attract new customers and generate more sales. Some of the commonly used strategies to do this include market research, analyzing the competition, and advertising to a target market. If you have a brick-and-mortar business, your target market is limited to people who live in surrounding areas.
That is not the case when your website sells online. Doing so can introduce your business to new target markets nationwide, and this can help you reach new customers who are looking for the products or services you sell.
You can adapt to unexpected events.
In a perfect business world, you and your employees would show up to work each day and have an influx of customers who are ready to make your cash registers ring. However, there are factors that can prevent this from happening, such as inflation, extended bear markets, and recessions. In addition, extraordinary factors like natural disasters and pandemics can bring your sales to a grinding halt.
Selling your products and services online can help keep your small business afloat during uncertain times. Studies reveal that Americans are 77% more likely to shop online when an unexpected event keeps them at home and away from brick-and-mortar stores. Moreover, 8 in 10 Americans believe they can stretch their dollar more by shopping online.
Mobile shopping is on the rise.
Smartphones and tablets such as the Apple iPad are fueling the growth of online shopping. 82% of Americans own smartphones and 53% own tablet computers. People are using their mobile phones and tablets to review products, compare prices and make purchases.
A leading research firm reveals that 70% of Americans make five or more online purchases from their mobile devices this year. Additionally, mobile shopping surpassed desktop computer shopping and now accounts for 57% of all online sales.
As you can see, having e-commerce capabilities on your website presents you with some tremendous benefits. If you are thinking about adding e-commerce functionality to your company’s site, hire an IT professional or web designer to make sure everything is done right and works properly. Nothing poses a bigger threat to the success of an online store than a bad user experience. Online shoppers expect things to work, and even the slightest disruption will result in lost sales.