An article written by Ben Dickson
With the internet and connected devices becoming more and more involved in every aspect of daily lives, consumers are increasingly expecting to find every product and service they need online, and they’re more likely to choose a vendor or company that can be reached on a whim when they’re comfortably sitting behind their laptops and PCs at home, or when they’re tapping on their phone while riding the train.
E-commerce allows retailers and service providers to provide an all-in-one solution to their customers, enabling them to browse and purchase their wares all through their desktop or mobile browser. This type of service, which is usually developed as a website or mobile app, has revolutionized the way companies are doing business and is fast gaining popularity as more and more users are inclined to make their purchases online.
Here are some of the benefits of e-commerce that have made it known as the “holy grail of retail.”
Accessibility and ease of use
With e-commerce solutions, customers are no longer bound by geographical constraints and store opening hours. You can be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and your customers can shop from you wherever they are, at whatever time they choose to. All they need is a browser and an internet connection. Viewing products, filling shopping carts and paying for goods all take place in the same location in a quick, convenient and user-friendly environment. And customers don’t need to push their cart through the aisles to find their product of need – all they need to do is a quick search within the site.
Your e-commerce website can offer users all the information and images they need about their products of choice, which will help them better decide whether what they’re buying will fulfill their needs.
Online presence will help attract more customers
Having an online presence through your e-commerce website will give you a very important channel to drive more customers to your business: internet search engines. More than 80% of the online population has used the internet to purchase something. Users are buying online at an increasing pace, and the most likely place they start from when making an online purchase is their favorite search engine. Once you have your e-commerce solution in place, search engines will start indexing your website, and if you have a good SEO and digital marketing plan, you’ll increase the chances of users finding you when querying for products they desire, giving you a great source of lead generation for your business.
Get useful insights on customers’ browsing and shopping habits
With the help of analytics tools, e-commerce websites can give you invaluable information about how users are reacting to your site’s design and contents, which products are generating more hype, how users’ shopping habits are changing over time and in different seasons. This can help you plan your special offers and pricing strategies based on realistic data and feedback from your customers and tailor them on a per-customer basis.
By keeping track of customer purchase history and browsing habits, you can also setup a loyalty program and make special offers to customers who make timely or frequent purchases. These options are much more convenient than their traditional physical equivalents such as bargains and coupons.
Putting your data to good use can go a long way to improve customer satisfaction, build trust with your audience and improve your sales rate.
Expansion at a low cost
In a brick-and-mortar model, a business’s expansion is bound to investing in new real estate, staff and logistics, a time-consuming and expensive endeavor. A simple e-commerce solution will help you reach out way beyond your direct vicinity at a very low fee and in a quick and painless process, and you don’t need to expand your workforce. In fact, with an e-commerce solution, your business can quickly achieve global levels, and you’ll only need to deal with the extra shipping process. There are many success stories about small local businesses turning into worldwide sensations thanks to e-commerce technology.
From both a vendor and a customer standpoint, an e-commerce is a definite must-have for every retail business. It will result in extended brand reach, improved online presence, increase in customer satisfaction, better lead generation, and at length, a huge boost in sales and revenue. If you don’t have an e-commerce solution, maybe it’s time to think about getting one.