The internet is for everyone. While there are certain groups of people that are more internet-active than others, everyone is online these days. By selling online, you open your shop up to a huge market of people from all walks of life. The internet is the biggest market of shoppers in history. By connecting with this incredible marketplace, you can grow sales and your customer base to a far greater degree than if you only exist offline. Once you’re e-commerce enabled you can sell well beyond the borders of your usual consumer base.
And really this is one of the biggest advantages to e-commerce. You aren’t limited by your physical shop. Are you in a bit of a poky, hard to reach location? Not a problem online. Do you have a narrow storefront, overshadowed by larger shops on either side? Your online storefront has no such problems. This is one of the ways that e-commerce can help you level the playing field with big chains.
Of course, this isn’t to say that e-commerce is easy. And at the end of the day, it’s got to be your decision, for your shop. But below we’ve listed a few ways that e-commerce can help you grow your business, to help you see what e-commerce can do for you.
E-Commerce Increases Availability
All brick-and-mortar shops have an opening time and a closing time. Some big chains can stay open all-day, but this takes a big staff that most independents can’t afford to maintain. This means that there are long periods of time each day (or more accurately each night) when you aren’t selling. And these days more and more people are getting online, in the later hours of the day, and browsing products from the comfort of their own homes. Using e-commerce eliminates the limitation of ‘open hours’ as it remains open 24/7, letting shoppers shop at their own convenience.
Unlimited Customer Reach
Whatever you put on the internet is for the world to see. Unlike physical stores that are limited to their physical area, e-commerce has no such limitation to how wide your customer reach can be. E-commerce provides increased visibility and sales by letting everyone that’s looking for your products online find you. Even when you’re targeting a niche audience, you’re guaranteed to expand beyond your shop’s physical area. And since shoppers don’t have to make it to your shop to browse your products, you’ll be gaining loyal customers across the country. Shoppers a hundred miles away will be browsing your products from the comfort of their own beds. Which brings us to what, for most consumers, is the best part of e-commerce.
Easy, Convenient Purchases
Shopping online is convenient. That’s its real strength. There are plenty of downsides to shopping online, like having to buy a product without actually seeing it in person and without being able to talk to a shop assistant if you have any special wants or requirements. It’s also lacking the personal touch of the in-store experience and you don’t get any of the atmosphere or community that a physical shop might have. But by God is it more convenient.
It’s more convenient for customers to stay at home and place an order from the comfort of their bed, rather than travelling all the way out to a store. There’s no waiting in line and you don’t need any cash either. With recent advances in in-browser information storage, you don’t even have to enter your card deals separately for every purchase. Every product you could ever want to buy is just a few clicks away. E-commerce skips the stress of pushing a shopping cart and looking for the product everywhere in the store. It lets you find what you’re looking for via a search function, so you don’t have to wonder through all the products you aren’t interested in.
So Why Not Give it a Try?
At the end of the day, e-commerce is a great opportunity to facilitate sales. It’s a great way to just let your customers buy. Let them browse from home, even if they live far away, or are usually too busy to shop. Let them buy with a few clicks of their mouse and a few taps of the keyboard. Let your customers shop the way they want to shop and you’ll see your sales grow. You might also see your footfall rise with your sales. A little online notoriety can bring customers in and if someone made a purchase, who wouldn’t otherwise have found you, or wouldn’t have been willing to travel out to your shop, you might find that happy customer visiting you in-store in future.
If you have any questions about e-commerce or getting online, feel free to get in touch!
If you’re thinking about getting online to take advantage of e-commerce, consider checking out our special offer from the UK Domain, who are here to help independent shops get online.