In today’s digital age, it would be hard to find someone who hasn’t recently purchased something from the comfort of their own home. With the growing prevalence of online shopping, it’s more important than ever for retail businesses to not only have a website – but to add an e-commerce component.
We’re not saying you should shutter your windows and worriedly await the end of traditional retail as we know it; in fact, you can rest assured that Consumers Will Always Love Brick-And-Mortar-Stores. Even the greatest e-commerce giant of them all has opened a physical location in Seattle.
But in an industry teeming with competition and dominated by big-box stores, you need to increase convenience, improve customer service, reach new customers and stay relevant. Taking your store online does all of these things and more.
For further proof that taking your brick-and-mortar business online is a no-brainer, check out our list below.
- It’s the New Way to Shop. And it’s not a fad. From books and clothing to furniture and even food, people are turning to the internet for more and more of their needs (and wants!). So why not your products? Whether it’s a roll of wallpaper or a unique décor piece, offer your customers the convenience of buying it from their own home and with the click of a button. By building an easy-to-navigate e-commerce website, you’ll give your customers more of a reason to shop with you – and less reason to turn elsewhere. To provide even more convenience for your customers, offer both delivery and pick-up options.
- Supplementary Income. Imagine the feeling of logging on to your computer first thing in the morning to see that you made sales while sleeping! The beauty of e-commerce is that you can sell products at any time, to anyone with an internet connection. And you can do so without extending store hours or working longer days. While there are some costs associated with selling products online, look at the expense as a long-term investment with unlimited potential.
- Content is King. Selling products online is not only a way to make more sales (and thus more money), but also a way to bolster your reputation as a retailer and add value to your brand. By supplementing your e-store with content such as product reviews, product launches, how-to videos and an ongoing blog, you will establish yourself as an industry expert and a trusted source for information. You may even get potential customers joining your social media channels and contacting you with questions. The more people trust you, the more likely they will be to buy from you – whether it’s online or in-store.
- Search Engine Optimization. Just because you’re a small business doesn’t mean you can’t have a large customer base. By implementing strong search engine optimization (SEO), such as keywords and product descriptions, your website will appear near the top of search engines like Google when people search for particular products. In addition to creating the potential for online sales, this can help introduce you to locals and direct them to your physical store.
- Customer Engagement. Speaking of new customers, a website with e-commerce capability is a great way to engage with your target market. Whether you install a live-chat function or you generate conversation on your blog, interacting with customers online is a savvy way to connect with customers and eventually make more sales. Answering questions, recommending products and suggesting complementary items (ie. upselling) are all part of your in-store customer service, so why not provide it online as well?