There are two important things when it comes to a physical store – reaching new customers and communicating with existing ones. If you have a physical storefront, you know that this can be a difficult task. Building eCommerce to sell online is one of the main methods through which you may simplify both aspects. The world is changing and any business that does not change with it faces the risk of fading out and even ceasing to exist. The benefits of eCommerce, incidentally, are far-ranging, and both businesses and consumers stand to gain.
What is eCommerce?
Electronic commerce or eCommerce refers to buying and selling products and services over the internet. It essentially includes any business-related financial transaction that requires a digital exchange of information. eCommerce may take place through different online mediums. These include marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay, and Etsy; websites owned by businesses; as well as mobile apps. The use of social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook for eCommerce is also on the rise.
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What Numbers Say
The growth in eCommerce over the last decade has been staggering, to say the least, and there’s no reason for this pattern to reverse any time soon. This is what eCommerce statistics collated by Oberlo and Kinsta have to say.
- 81% of consumers make online purchases after using the internet to carry out suitable research.
- 43% of people who shop online have made purchases while in bed, 20% while driving or in the bathroom, and 23% while at office.
- More than 218 million American consumers will turn online to shop in 2023.
- eCommerce sales will make up 28% of global retail sales in 2023.
- By 2040, 95% of all purchases will take place online.
- 28% of American consumers use their phones to compare prices, check product reviews, and scout for discounts when they’re out to make in-store purchases.
The Benefits of eCommerce to Businesses
Businesses that start selling online, either through their own eCommerce websites or through marketplaces, get the perfect opportunity to reach out to larger audiences. Besides, while an eCommerce website gives your business the means to establish a professional online presence, the features and benefits it offers can work in increasing sales and maximizing profits. From a business perspective, several advantages of eCommerce are there for the taking.
Reach More Customers
If your store is located in an area with less foot traffic, building an eCommerce website to sell online will create a level playing field for your business. If you work with the right eCommerce web development and marketing team, you will get a website that ranks well, and you may expect way more traffic than what you receive at your physical store. Besides, the investment you need to turn to eCommerce is significantly lesser than what you’d need to set up a physical store.
Increase Online Visibility
A number of businesses run promotions they would like to market, and there’s no better way than through the internet. Most people now find information online and this means businesses need to be where people are looking. Promoting offers and deals on eCommerce sites is easy. Increased online exposure also drives more traffic to your physical store, which comes in the form of people who prefer shopping at brick-and-mortar locations.
You also have a better chance of collecting email addresses and other types of customer data by using eCommerce sites. Collecting this information might be difficult at physical stores but easier online, where consumers only need to fill out short forms.
As part of increasing your brand’s online visibility, you may choose to start selling your products/services globally. While a brick-and-mortar store is bound by physical limitations, eCommerce gives you easy means to reach out to a global audience. If, at some stage, you feel that there’s a good demand for your products from any particular country or region, you may even think about offering your website in different languages. The fact that a number of reputed companies offer global fulfillment and shipping services adds to making the process simpler.
Quicker Go-to-Market Time
No matter whether you set up an eCommerce store by using a platform such as Shopify, Magento, or WooCommerce, you may look forward to a quicker go-to-market time than setting up a brick-and-mortar store. With online marketplaces like eBay and Amazon, all you need to do is create an account before you may start selling. However, if you wish to do away with sharing your profits with third parties, setting up your own custom eCommerce website might be the way to go. This, too, would be quicker than launching a physical store.
Upon the launch of your eCommerce platform, getting off to a quick start is possible if you already have an online presence and a social media following that you may tap into. Driving traffic to your eCommerce website in a reasonable time frame is also possible by relying on various digital marketing strategies.
Reduction in Costs
One of the biggest advantages of eCommerce is that it helps businesses reduce costs by varying degrees. For example, a number of businesses spend substantial sums of money to run physical stores and have to account for costs associated with rent, employees, inventory, and repairs. By turning to eCommerce, businesses have the option of reducing how much they spend on their brick-and-mortar locations, and they may also choose to scale down physically.
eCommerce also gives small-scale and individual sellers who don’t have adequate funds to set up physical stores the ability to sell their products/services in a cost-effective manner.
Another important benefit of eCommerce to businesses is that they don’t have to spend copious amounts of money on television and newspaper ads to market their products/services. For instance, you don’t have to invest in printed catalogs, because your website serves the purposes equally well, if not better. Besides, you may use various other digital marketing tools to boost your brand’s presence. These may include search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), email marketing, social media marketing, mobile marketing, video marketing, and influencer marketing.
Benefits of eCommerce to Consumers
Data released by Google indicates that 59% of shoppers use Google to carry out research about online or in-store purchases that they plan to make. By turning to eCommerce, you may give your target audience easy access to the information it’s looking for about your brand and its products/services. Consumers may look forward to other benefits of eCommerce too.
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Customers Get the Freedom They Want
We live in an age where an increasing number of consumers enjoy shopping from the comfort of their homes and even when on the move. Now, making purchases requires no more than a few clicks. With an internet-enabled device and online connectivity, consumers may buy almost anything, from anywhere, and at any time. By giving your target audience this option, you help simplify how they deal with you.
The main reason why a significant number of people are leaning toward online shopping through eCommerce sites is that they don’t like the hassle of shopping at physical stores. There is the waste of time in traffic, among other inconveniences. Another reason is that it’s common for eCommerce platforms to be open round the clock, all year round. This means people may buy from your business even when your physical store is closed. The result is an increase in business, which translates to more profits.
Safety and Convenience
One of the key advantages of eCommerce during the COVID-19 pandemic was that it gave consumers a safe way to make purchases without worrying about contracting the virus. Besides, online shopping also takes away the need to venture out in inhospitable weather, wait in long lines, and deal with product unavailability. Not surprisingly, many people who turned to online shopping during the pandemic-induced lockdown continue to make purchases using different eCommerce platforms.
Another important benefit of eCommerce to consumers is that they may look forward to lower prices. In several instances, the absence of middlemen in eCommerce, where businesses directly sell to consumers, works in bringing down costs. Besides, since competition in most fields is fierce, it’s common for businesses to offer their products/services at lower or discounted prices.
Consumers may gain from the various promotional offers they stand to find on the internet. Many businesses offer special benefits to members/subscribers. Consumers may also benefit through free shipping, although businesses usually offer this on minimum cart values.
eCommerce has made way for consumers to benefit from technological advances. For instance, buying an eBook is typically more cost-effective than opting for its print version. This is also the case when you compare buying digital music with CDs or vinyl records.
A key importance of eCommerce is that it gives consumers access to a wide range of products and services from just about any category they might choose. For example, even if you carry out an online search to rent a private jet, you’ll get a plethora of options. Further, when consumers narrow down on out-of-stock products, they may choose to get notifications when the products are in stock again.
When compared with traditional brick-and-mortar setups that have space limitations, it’s obvious that the online world presents way more alternatives. Besides, the fact that consumers may take their own time to make purchase decisions certainly helps.
The Means to Compare
When consumers turn online, they get easy means to carry out in-depth comparisons. While most businesses do their best to provide detailed information about their products and services, a number of websites specialize in comparing the offerings of different businesses from across spheres. This gives you the ability to compare brands and products. Consumers may also turn to eCommerce platforms to compare prices. In some instances, one may even find the same product selling at different prices.
Carrying out comparisons helps consumers make well-informed purchase decisions. This is because the online world also gives consumers access to reviews from real people, product guides, demo videos, and more. Social validation often plays an important role in the decision-making process, because consumers are more inclined to pay for products or services that existing or previous customers recommend.
The Cost of Building eCommerce Sites
Arriving at an exact figure of how much an eCommerce website costs is not easy without taking your requirements into account. The cost generally depends on how extensive a platform you’re looking for and the customer experience that you want it to deliver. It’s possible to get a professionally created eCommerce website for around $5,000 to $10,000, although the number can be significantly higher depending on your specific requirements.
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The cost you may incur in setting up a new eCommerce website also depends on the proficiency levels of the web agency you use. You could, in some sense, compare getting e new website to buying a new automobile. While the cost depends on the functionalities you’re after, the company you select will also have an effect. Regardless of the design and the budget, you need a website that works well for your business and target audience alike. Fortunately, finding a good eCommerce website development company might be simpler than you think.
Businesses from across sectors need to realize that an increasing number of consumers are turning to eCommerce platforms to find out about products/services and make purchases. The fact that people typically get multiple payment modes from which to choose simplifies the process, and the options on offer certainly help. While there are several benefits of eCommerce to consumers, businesses also stand to gain in different ways.
All the benefits of eCommerce to businesses notwithstanding, you need to do your homework before jumping on the bandwagon. You need to pay attention to different aspects such as getting insight into your target audience, planning your website’s design, overseeing its development, and then marketing it using different online channels. Given the wide scope of work this involves, partnering with a digital agency that specializes in eCommerce might be the way to go.