Most consumers and business owners have become well aware over the course of the last few years that sales of products online has become the real deal. In fact, in 2016, retail transactions made online accounted for 11.7% of total retail sales. That figure was a 15% jump from the year prior, and that number is certain to rise in the coming decade.
Some small retailers with brick and mortar locations may see the rise in online sales as a threat to their business. It’s hard not to empathize with that possibility when you have to compete with the likes of Amazon and Ebay. Amazon, just by itself, accounted for nearly 44% of all online transactions in 2016.
However, there is a lot of opportunity for small business owners to get a piece of the action. And when it comes to the likes of Amazon, the old saying can be applied: “if you can’t beat them, join them.” An ecommerce component to a small business owner’s business can provide a lot of upside; especially if that small business offers a niche.
Here are a few things to think about as you ponder the question of: “is selling online really for me.” After having read these, I am sure you will want to get your ecommerce mojo in the works.
Expand Your Sales Area
Your brick and mortar location can always be seen as a source of pride. You worked hard to realize your dream of opening your own store, selling the things that you are an expert in, and love. You may have enough foot traffic to feel content, but only selling your products from your store can be limiting. It may be obvious, but usually your walk-in customers will come from a close radius from your location; and if you deal with a lot of competition, advertising outside your immediate market with other media, will unlikely pay dividends.
Ecommerce opens up your potential customer base to as far as you desire. If you own a store in Orange County, it is not out of the realm of possibilities that someone from San Francisco will make a purchase from you. Customers go to your other storefront, your website, from their computer, and with a few quick and simple clicks, can buy a product you sell.
One of the amazing things about doing any business online, is that it is very measurable. You can get granular in terms of gaining insight into who is visiting your website, where they come from, how old they are, what pages they visited, and so on. This quality extends to selling products online. You get to view the complete path that your customers take in their quest to purchase a product from your website. You can determine the type of person who is buying a particular product, see which products are gaining the most traction, and perhaps the converse: seeing which products you carry that aren’t.
Having access to detailed analytics of your online sales will provide you valuable direction on how to adapt your store to the quickly changing consumer landscape. What you learn online can certainly be applied to your brick and mortar location.
If you aren’t taking full advantage of showcasing your store online, then you aren’t able to engage with your customers when they aren’t in your store. That means they don’t know anything about promotions, sales, and new products. By just having a website you can satisfy these things, but including an ecommerce component can also mean immediate action on these things.
Just imagine not having an ecommerce portal. You have a brand-new item in your store that you are excited about. You add a snippet on your website to feature this new product, you push it out to social media to inform your existing customers, and then you wait for them to come into the store to buy it; maybe some of those people who were initially interested have talked themselves out of buying altogether. If you could sell that product online, your customers can click on the link to the product page to purchase it right away; and during the time when impulse is in play.
Convenience for Customers
We touched on this above, but it is worth emphasizing how much ecommerce allows for convenience. Customers don’t have to make the trip to your store, they don’t even have to wait for you to open to buy the things they want. And if your ecommerce portal is organized appropriately, it makes it very simple for customers to browse through your product offering, which often leads to a multiple product purchase. You also have the ability to make companion product suggestions for even more upsell opportunity.
Virtual Inventory (Drop Ship)
This particular point may not be available to everyone, but if you have the ability to send a product from your supplier straight to your customer, that means you don’t have to allocate your own capital to purchasing it and placing it on your store shelves with the hope that it sells well and doesn’t collect dust on its path to your “for sale” or clearance bin.
Being able to showcase a product online, and not in your store, can also give you the ability to see what may perform well in your store in the future.
Being able to sell your products online can bring a lot of success to your business, it can open up your market area, can get you through slow times at your store location, and give you incredible insight into what makes your customers tick.
Of course, building an ecommerce portal can mean a lot of work, some upkeep and process, and optimization to ensure that customers can find your online store in the first place.
Augment Agency can help you build your ecommerce portal, help you manage it, and make sure it can be found by your customers, both present and future. And we can do it affordably.
Click here to learn more. www.augmentagency.com