There was a time when information was hard to come by, and sending messages meant waiting for weeks to get a response. Now, the internet grants us access to a vast collection of knowledge and all the tools to reach people halfway across the globe.
As of January 2021, almost 60% of the world’s population are active internet users. That’s almost five billion people.
The sheer number of visitors surfing the web is enough to prove how powerful the internet is. It serves as a conduit for many things, like social networking, research, and of course, business.
Online shopping is at an all-time high due to the pandemic and is projected to grow even more in the coming years. In the United States, eCommerce accounted for 21.3% of total retail sales last year, amounting to over $860 billion.
While it’s unlikely that traditional brick-and-mortar stores will go extinct, there’s no denying the benefits of selling online.
What is an eCommerce Platform?
An eCommerce platform is a software application that performs core business functions to facilitate the buying and selling of goods online.
Modern eCommerce platforms act as a unified system for many operational and customer-facing processes. They provide analytics and reporting, customer support, order and inventory management, financial accounting, and more.
The most popular eCommerce platforms like Magento, Shopify, and BigCommerce offer many options for customization on top of drool-worthy SEO. Load time, mobile-friendliness, multi-channel integration, and marketing features are also important considerations when choosing the right website builder.
Top Benefits of eCommerce for Your Business
Today, online shopping can take place right on social media platforms. But for this list, we focus on the top reasons why your business needs an eCommerce website or app.
1. Always Open for Business
Consumers can be very unpredictable. Sometimes, people spontaneously get in the mood to shop, especially when they can do it at home. With an eCommerce platform, you exploit these impulsive behaviors by being able to stay open 24/7.
eCommerce stores are always available to take orders at any point of the day. This attracts consumers with busy consumers and those who start and end their days at peculiar hours.
You don’t even need anyone to man the website or app while users add to their cart and checkout. All you need is a reliable server and a smooth user interface to close the sale anytime, anywhere.
2. Lower Startup Cost
Launching a physical retail store usually requires a large capital because of rent, renovations, inventory, office equipment, and employee salaries. Adding in marketing costs, legal fees, and business permits, the average cost for starting a store is $100,000.
In contrast, opening an eCommerce store can go for as little as $100. That amount will get you a subscription to an eCommerce platform and a basic theme for your website. Of course, better results are met when you hire web developers and designers.
Customized and responsive websites can go from $1000 to $25,0000, depending on the number of pages and the features you desire.
eCommerce shops are also cheaper to maintain compared to brick-and-mortar stores. An eCommerce store with 100 to 1000 products will cost you roughly $15,000 to $30,000 a year for enhancements and routine maintenance.
On the other hand, running costs for physical stalls are average at $10,000 a month. The money you’ll save from cutting operating expenses can be devoted to expanding your product line and improving user experience.
4. Global Reach
On the internet, everyone is connected. Online stores reach a global audience and sell to them efficiently. Even if your business is new, buyers from all over the world can become aware of your brand and avail of your products and services.
What’s more, you get to discover a new demographic that greatly benefits from what you have to offer. This opens countless opportunities for growth, expansion, and a shot at becoming a household name.
Unlike physical stores, it doesn’t take much to go global with an eCommerce shop. You just need to make sure that your pages are accessible and engaging.
5. Enhanced Brand Awareness and Trust
Online selling has many forms. In 2020, social commerce grabbed hold of the masses with the introduction of Facebook Shops to help small businesses. Although social commerce has its merits, an official eCommerce website or app is indispensable.
A designated app or website raises brand awareness and trust. You can customize the look and feel of your eCommerce platform better to help your business become more recognizable. Moreover, well-designed eCommerce platforms put users at ease when giving personal information and filling out details for payment.
6. Customer Data Insights
Perhaps one of the best advantages of eCommerce can gather data with ease. Because every step is digitized, you have the opportunity to gain deep customer insights.
When customers checkout or are returning to leave a product review, you can seamlessly ask for feedback or other pertinent information. This helps you form your buyer persona and informs how you can tweak your platform for the better.
Additionally, there are tools available for you to spot problem areas that cause friction in the buyer’s journey. Taking advantage of a data-driven approach to business, you learn to make smarter decisions and ultimately serve your customers better.
7. Personalized Shopping Experience
Personalized shopping experiences play a huge role in converting first-time visitors and delighting shoppers. This is achievable by putting customer insights into action in your web design and updates.
Only on eCommerce websites and apps can you customize how customers are greeted upon entry. You can take it a step further by presenting recommended products tailored to their past transactions and web activity.
Personalizing shopping experiences extends to email marketing, ads, pricing, and more. All these begin with data gathering on your eCommerce platform.
8. Instant Customer Support
You can have the best products, but if your customer service is lacking, you won’t be seeing a lot of repeat customers. eCommerce platforms with chatbots provide customer service around the clock to ensure users get answers to their questions fast.
Sophisticated AI can help visitors navigate your website and take orders like a real-life sales attendant. Through this, you can guarantee that sales processes are flowing smoothly without your constant monitoring.
Scaling up is exciting news for every business owner. Unfortunately, without the proper infrastructures, scaling up can cost more money than it will return.
For physical stores, expansion requires more floor space, new fixtures, additional employees, and the expense that comes with all of them. For eCommerce websites and apps, it’s only a matter of adding inventory and accommodating more traffic.
You’d need a couple of digital tweaks and secure more storage space, but the cost won’t come close to what you’ll need if you open a new location.
10. Meet Modern Day Demands
Finally, eCommerce platforms meet customers where they’re at. For a populace that values convenience, and lives and breathes digitization, online businesses are a must.
The call to adopt eCommerce technology has never been greater. So even if your numbers are strong with just a physical shop, it’s high time to embrace the future and reap the rewards that follow.
Work with a Team of Professional Web Developers and Designers
Launching your own eCommerce business is best achieved when you work with a team of professionals. Seasoned web developers and designers are experts at customizing web pages to give you the highest ROI. Contact DevWerkz today.