E-commerce can benefit almost any Small Business
E-commerce is a rapidly growing industry and how e-commerce helps businesses in today’s economy is by improving sales. In traditional on-the-ground retail stores, business owners relied on good old-fashioned conversation or an impressive looking display to get the ball rolling with potential customers. E-commerce stores come as a complete game changer, as they allow marketers to interact with and monitor audiences like never before.
With many businesses needing to adapt their selling strategies to accommodate the restrictions brought on by the current global pandemic, the importance of e-commerce in modern business has become quite clear. While the benefits of e-commerce for business have been evident for many, the drastic increase in online sales this past year only gave credence to the fact that online stores are a necessity for entrepreneurs today.
In this article, we’ll explore how e-commerce helps businesses by looking at some of the inherent benefits that come with it.
Low Initial Investment Cost
Compared to a traditional brick-and-mortar shop, the initial capital needed to run the online store is a fraction of the initial investment with little barriers of entry. A physical store requires certain overhead such as rental, insurance, and operational costs that e-commerce stores avoid.
Starting an e-commerce business is so easy and affordable, practically anyone with a computer or smartphone could do it. There are thousands of reasonably priced platforms available for even the most amateur of business owners. These platforms are scalable, and offer tools to help you manage payment strategy, optimize billing, manage taxes on a global scale, avoid fraud, and manage personal data. Many platforms also allow for a variety of marketing solutions, including email automation, mobile marketing, audience targeting, and website personalization.
One popular turn-key platform, that works well with a WordPress setup, is Woocommerce.
Sell Anytime, Anywhere, to Anyone
The beauty of an e-commerce site is that it is open 24/7 to customers across the globe. Traditional on-the-ground stores were limiting, as they could not cater to the varying schedules of customers (not all people work on a 9 to 5 schedule).They also carried a burden of finding the appropriate physical space for your business, which could be quite stressful. Depending on what type of business you own, it could be imperative to find a certain niche space to drive the foot traffic of your target audience into the physical store. This burden, however, is lifted with an e-commerce business.
Providing services at all times of day and night allows access to customers all over the world. It helps build the brand much quicker and sees a faster profit from both local and international customers.
Get Easy Access to Customer Data
A natural part of any e-commerce check-out process is collecting customers’ personal information. Unlike traditional stores, where a person can purchase a product with the tap of a credit card, e-commerce stores require customers to input information like name, email address, company, and occupation. This information can then be used in future marketing efforts. Once you have a customer’s contact information, you can start to build that relationship by sending newsletters, articles, surveys, and other marketing material to encourage engagement.
Purchasing habits, interests, and product reviews offer a lot of useful information. This type of data analysis allows businesses to highlight best-selling products for a more streamlined purchasing experience and adapt their products or services getting less than great reviews to better serve their customers. Innovation is important to stay relevant in the mind of your customer and using an online store to understand what they like/don’t like and what motivates them to purchase products will be beneficial for long-term success.
Save Costs on Hiring In-House Staff
When it comes to running a team, an e-commerce store cuts costs right off the bat. You are no longer required to pay employees for in-house, 9 to 5 work weeks. Employees can work in shorter shifts, and you can hire people from anywhere across the globe. The e-commerce platform running the store might also provide employees the time and freedom to pursue other creative or innovative endeavours within the company.
Integrating a feature like a chatbot to replace a live agent can significantly help lower management costs. Many businesses have put this to good use and the reduced service time for customers not only eliminates the need for 24/7 support staff, but also improves satisfaction as well. Improved customer relations might be the difference between a one-time sale and a loyal, repeat customer.
Get More Traffic with Content
E-commerce blogging is a sure-fire way to bring new customers to a site. The best part? It’s completely free. By blogging about topics that are relevant to your product or service, it helps bring in new traffic, build trust with existing customers, and position the company as a leader in the field. Let’s say you’re a company specializing in rock climbing shoes – you might write a blog about the best climbing cliffs in the area or invite a well-known climber to write a guest post. Don’t forget, there are other types of content – like pricing descriptions, inventory availability, product comparisons, and product descriptions—that help inform customers and provide a better user experience.
This could be the perfect foundation for a calculated email marketing campaign. People like to share important, relevant, and helpful content. Providing your customers with material such as this could help you generate new leads and capture new potential customers.
Therefore, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is so crucial for online business. SEO has the potential to drive new prospects to your online store through the indexing of content. If a search engine such as Google indexes content, it increases its validity and gives customers more faith in your brand. Be sure to look at our Content Marketing: The Ultimate Guide Series to get the most out of your content efforts.
Collect Data for Market Research
A strictly physical operating store is limited with regards to their marketing reach. They rely on marketing tactics focused on the people in their geographical area or word of mouth from the locals, and even if they manage to lure them into their store for a purchase, the marketing line ends there. Gathering information or other customer data is incredibly difficult, as you can’t request people to give you their email address before they enter the store. This obstacle of data collection is intelligently hurdled with new online marketing tactics.
Operating an e-commerce store makes it incredibly easy to collect data about customers. Often, analytics tools are built right into the software used to run an e-commerce store, and analyze things like purchasing patterns, bounce rate, click-through rate, site speed, and more. With this feedback loop, you can continue to innovate the customer experience with constant improvements and testing.You can also take advantage of the information to use a more targeted marketing strategy and pull on the heartstrings of your prospects.
E-commerce is a no-brainer for any company looking for success in today’s day and age. In 2021, customers expect businesses to have an adequate (if not strong) online presence and are willing to forgo a company’s services if they do not have one. Your competition will probably be operating online, so be sure to stay ahead by providing consumers with an exceptional e-commerce experience. We recommend learning as much as you can about operating an e-commerce store before diving in. There’s a lot to learn, but the benefits are myriad. At the end of the day, e-commerce helps your business, and if you can learn a little more each day, success will follow.