According to emarketer, worldwide retail sales (both in-store and internet purchases) will reach $28.300 trillion in 2018.
Thanks to the exponential growth in the use of portable devices such as smartphones and tablets, the retail industry has (and continues to) witness a huge shift towards ecommerce.
According to Forrester research, “In 2012, ecommerce had a healthy 14.8 percent growth rate over 2011, easily eclipsing the total retail sales growth rate of 5.3 percent. By 2017, the Internet will account for ten percent of all U.S. retail sales when online sales will reach $370 billion”, up from $231 billion in 2014.
In order for small businesses to stay ahead of the herd and remain relevant and successful, having an e-commerce presence is a requirement. Want to know more about why an effective e-commerce strategy is crucial to the survival of your business?
> It Impacts Buying Decisions
It’s no secret that customers tend to research a product before they actually go ahead and buy it. Most of this research is conducted online. They will begin by visiting your website, which will serve as your online showroom, where they can get information about your product, and see that your product is, indeed, the right choice for them.
Wouldn’t it be great to have them buy your product immediately?
A well-designed e-commerce website can motivate purchase decisions by presenting your product in the best light, thereby egging your customer on to make a purchase. Your site should Include a searchable and convenient catalog along with product reviews can also encourage sales.
> It Is Easy to Set Up and Manage
While setting up an e-commerce store can seem like a daunting task, know that it isn’t. Thanks to the several online ecommerce tools, getting your e-store up and running has become a matter of a few hours.
Using these tools is easy, convenient and cheap. They enable you to manage all your products and orders from different sites in one central store web admin. Customers as well as store owners will enjoy the simplicity of using the online store.
> Gets Going on Social Media
The entire world is on social media, with a lot of customers turning to social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to research potential purchases. It is, therefore, important for a small businesses to create an engaging social media presence to increase sales and traffic, as well as raise company profile.
A remarkable social media strategy, when integrated with a good e-commerce website, creates an emotional bond with buyers. Discounts, offers, competitions and shareable content such as videos and images can be used to grab attention and motivate visits to your e-commerce store.
> You Earn 24*7
When it comes to running a brick-and-mortar store, you can only sell when your store is open With an e-commerce store, however, you can set up a single storefront using your own domain name and sell your products globally. With your e-commerce store, you can finally fit into your customers’ busy lives with the products and services they really want. Proactive ecommerce entrepreneurs can leverage technology for their growth, and create awareness for their business at any place and time, thereby making money around the clock.
> It Enables Personalized Experiences
Looking to build a more personal connection with your customers by offering personalized customer service? Ecommerce can help you with this. Consumers want on-demand, personalized promotions when shopping online. Your ecommerce strategy can be designed to offer the same services as you would in your physical store (and more), including personal recommendations, order tracking, quick customer service, personalized rewards, and so on. For example, you could allow your visitors to enter their preferences on your website, enabling them to receive personalized newsletters and offer discounts based on the information they enter.
If you still haven’t included e-commerce in your business strategy, it’s high time that you did. After all, you don’t want your competitors to sway your customers away from you. The three strategies mentioned below will enable you to fire up your online success:
> Optimize Your Website
One of the first steps to getting traffic directed towards your website is to optimize your ecommerce site for ease of use on multiple devices, particularly mobile phones. This means providing your customers with flawless navigation, and ensuring that your page load times are speedy with appropriate images, themes, caches, and modules.
Apart from that, you’ll have to work on making your site as search engine-friendly as possible. This entails including keywords in your content and meta data, having a clear hierarchy, text links, and a site map that can guide through the pages of the website.
> Have a Blog
Through your blog, you can provide information related to your products and services to your customers. To do so successfully, you will have to ensure that you keep updating your blog on a regularly basis and stay connected with your customers. Adding fresh content to your website will also boost your search engine optimization efforts.
As you create your blog, write unique and high-quality content that adds value to your customers instead of simply promoting your offerings. This will position you as an expert in your industry and build credibility with your customers.
You can also keep your customers engaged by posting interesting behind-the-scenes videos, informing about the manufacturing processes, letting them in on industry goings-on, offering a sneak peek into the lives of the people who make your business what it is, and so on. This will be entertaining, informative, as well as helpful in bringing your customers closer to you.
> Leverage Images
Image is everything. If you develop content that shows pictures people using your products you will sell more of stuff online. Content marketing is all about sharing an experience with potential customers. Content can involve product descriptions, videos, blogs, articles, testimonials, reviews, and more. The more compelling the images you provide your customers, the more likely to share it and buy from you.
One of the greatest things about e-commerce is that it provides small businesses with opportunities to offer their customers ceaseless convenience. A solid online presence is crucial to establishing the dominance over your competitors. An excellent e-commerce strategy that adds outstanding customer service can result in increased sales and traffic for years to come.
Author Bio: Mansi Dhorda works at E2M – A Digital Marketing Agency. A social media enthusiast, she is well-versed in content marketing and other internet marketing niches. You can interact with her on Twitter. Her Twitter handle is @mansidhorda.