Having been around for more than 10 years, e-commerce can no longer be considered as a new field in retail. Still, it’s one of the most prominent retail vectors — according to Nielsen, online shopping accounts for $2.8 trillion. Although the shifts to online sectors are most obvious in FMCG, Electronics, and Clothes, other markets will soon join the trend. After all, e-commerce grows 20% each year — in 2020, it’ll reach approximately $4 trillion.
Even if we talk about present realities, it’s apparent that e-commerce is a promising investment vector. If the market keeps up this growth pace, by 2037 online sales could exceed physical store profits.
By transferring a business to online mediums, owners receive access to new audiences. They also get superior metrics, monitoring possibilities, branding instruments, and innovative technologies — all these additional opportunities make working online easier than offline.
Advantages of e-Commerce for Your Business
Following global trends and planning future developments is undoubtedly important, but that’s not all that e-commerce offers. The field is already huge — you can explore e-commerce advantages that help your business grow now.
Power of Competition
The e-commerce field is highly competitive, and although it may seem like a disadvantage at first glance, competition is a highly effective development driver. The valuable distinction between physical and online stores is that in digital mediums, your competitors’ activities are publically available. You can use Similar Web to monitor their traffic, subscribe to newsletters to track new offers, and follow social media to learn their branding tactics.
In e-commerce, the competition is open and transparent — it’s one of the main advantages and disadvantages of e-commerce. You are free to learn from their mistakes and make the most out of their business models. Still, it’s important to be careful with your competitors — they can monitor your strategy, too
Helps To Keep Up With Higher Demands
Adapting to e-commerce brings you closer to the market, and more importantly, keeps you in touch with the end customer. Google Analytics and Shopify provide access to behavioral statistics, letting business owners and managers know main customer interactions. By integrating a Customer Relationship Manager system, you can send personalized emails, monitor conversion, work with potential clients, and send automated follow-ups.
It’s also worth noting that e-commerce customers are highly selective in their choices. Although there is room for an impulsive purchase, the majority of online shoppers like to read reviews, collect information about the company, and do detailed research. They also expect the website to provide them with useful information — a customer won’t search for a product or its description if it’s not publically available.
These high demands inspire your business to grow to a new level, which is why it’s one of the main benefits of e-commerce. Luckily, you don’t have to necessarily invest monetary resources — there are plenty of free tools that allow for improved website management and high-level analytics.
Lower Costs of Maintenance and Management
It’s proven that e-commerce can be more efficient and cheaper than physical retail. Let’s take a look at how online stores can lower their maintenance expenses compared to brick-and-mortar shops.
- Accurate reporting: an online store can navigate automated integrations with invoicing software and accounting managers. This leads to faster financial operations and protects a business from potential penalties.
- Less additional costs: all resources that were previously directed to electricity, rent, or building repair can be redirected to marketing and advertising.
- Inventory management: an online store doesn’t have to own a warehouse. Instead, a company can outsource the work to wholesalers or rent space. No time-consuming organization, storage, logistical issues, and unpacking problems.
- Communication: e-commerce allows retailers to talk to their employees via online messengers and social media. Clients are approached via social media, email, mobile phones, and messaging apps. All dialogue logs are stored in dedicated management tools.
Rich automation opportunities, offered by e-commerce, is yet another reason why a business would use e-commerce. Business owners can refocus from mundane tasks on development-related objectives.
All Information About the Products In A Single Place
Having an online store is convenient even for those companies that don’t plan to switch from traditional retail. According to Google’s analysis, more than 50% of customers do online research on the market for product comparison before making any kind of purchase. This means your offer should be easily seen online so potential customers can access it from their desktop and mobile devices.
An online store provides clients with full access to your product range, special offers, contact information, and answers to the most important questions. With working digital e-commerce platforms, employees don’t have to respond to the same recurring questions about delivery, return policy, or discounts.
Benefits of e-Commerce to Business Owners
Now, retail businesses inevitably face two choices. The first one would be switching to a digital medium altogether, cutting costs for physical point-of-sale maintenance and management. The other, a less drastic change, would be to create a digital store while still keeping an active physical shop and inventory. So, what are the advantages of e-commerce?
24/7 Income Potential
Usually, physical points of sales are opened in traditional work hours, from 9am to 9pm. Online shops are always open — products can be browsed anytime, the basic support is provided by chatbots, delivery can be outsourced to the 24/7 service, etc.
Automation allows to keep a steady workflow any hour — you can receive and process orders, deliver the goods, and send invoices, regardless of time restrictions. This is also convenient for customers with unconventional late-night schedules that don’t fall into a regular nine-to-nine schedule.
Putting the Best Quality Items at the Front
At the e-commerce store, you can track customer satisfaction by monitoring product ratings, reviews, page views, and bounce time. This can open an unexpected perspective on your item range — could be, visitors don’t like the products that you were betting on.
One of the major benefits of e-commerce business for retailers is that you can choose how, where, and when to display the item. What would take a day of work in a traditional store, requires only a few clicks on the website. The catalog is more flexible and can be easily adjusted to different seasons and occasions.
Personalizing the Shopping Experience
Accenture’s report shows that 91% of customers appreciate companies who remember their personal needs. To help lean into this, e-commerce stores can adapt their offers according to customers’ characteristics and preferences, showing a particular product lineup. Let’s take a look at several personalization strategies and their examples.
- Ask a customer directly: Topshop offers its customers to choose their size, model and color preferences and shows a customized feed with products that fit these needs.
- Encourage long-term customers: you can analyze your clients’ shopping habits and offer smart suggestions. This is what ASOS does by offering a digest with best offers to its regular visitors.
- Save recently opened products: a client can close a page with an interesting product, and the store can offer a come-back option. This strategy is efficiently used by Zalando — a store that uses cookie files to remember browsing history.
Personalization is an impressive method of getting and retaining clients, but it’s not all that difficult to do. All these strategies can be achieved with pop-ups, cookies, and audience segmentation. To make things better, there are dozens of free third-party tools that can be integrated directly into the website.
An owner or manager of an online store is not limited to a particular location. Developers, designers, and customer support agents can be located anywhere in the world, as soon as they have stable internet access. You can consider outsourcing the majority of your business operations, including warehouse management and delivery.
The team’s efficiency is evaluated with time trackers and efficiency managers — such as Jira or Hubstaff. An online system also can be integrated with your website or CRM — you can control how employees interact with clients and help them achieve better results.
Encouragement for Impulse Purchases
With target advertising, online brands can tap into users’ daily routine. Instagram and Facebook shopping features make this process even easier. After a recent update, users don’t even have to leave a social media page to complete a purchase. All they have to do is choose a product, enter their credit card data — and you’ll get a processed order to your online store.
Retargeting is used to grab the attention of those users who have already visited the store but left for some reason. You can remind them of previewed files or offer a discount. Such strategies increase client retention and improve loyalty.
Companies actively use the benefits of big data to learn more about their customers, implement AI to save time, and create chatbots for prompt tech support. Online shops should be supported on mobile and tablet devices — especially considering that, according to Statista, 57% of all US customers use smartphone retail applications for product research.
At bvblogic, we create creative, responsive, and personalized e-commerce solutions. We make sure that customers see relevant offers and get to know the brand better. Having developed many online stores, we have learned that innovation should be based on market review and customer analysis, which is why it’s always the starting point of our work.
Implementing e-commerce is a must-have retail innovation in 2020. Data algorithms and tech innovations provide customers with a life-like experience, and analytics help to measure business’ growth. All these factors make online store development faster and easier as well.
When we know customers’ online habits, preferences, interests, and pain points, we start looking for an optimal technical solution. This test-based and data-driven approach saves money and time in the long-term run and assures quick progress. Contact us if you have an e-commerce or m-commerce project in mind — our team will happily analyze the market and create a sustainable cutting-edge digital store!