It’s time: Take your retail business online
There can’t be a better time to convert or expand your brick-and-mortar store into an online store. But since Abraham Lincoln suggests that you mustn’t believe everything you read on the internet, we’re going to address a few apprehensions you might have before taking your business online.
E-commerce sector: Current trends
“But why? I’m so comfortable with the way things are!”
A piece of advice, don’t be. Your brick-and-mortar store might be doing well now but in order to maintain the momentum or scale it up in the future, you will have to make a few changes. With technology becoming all-pervasive in nature, industries have been known to notoriously expel players who do not embrace trends and innovation as they come.
E-commerce has carved a niche for itself in the retail landscape. With e-retail sales accounting for 5.1% of total retail sales worldwide in 2007 to a staggering 14.1% in 2019 and an estimated 22% in 2023, e-commerce is, to say the least, thriving. By 2040, it is expected to take over retail almost completely.
With revenues at about $3.5 trillion in 2019 and projected at $6.5 trillion in 2022, it is certainly time to take your physical store online and jump on the internet commerce bandwagon.
COVID-19: Strike while the iron is hot
“Why now? What’s the hurry?”
COVID-19 has had all-round devastating impacts and has debilitated all spheres of life. However, there is one sector that seems to have gained strength during this period.
According to the Adobe Digital Economy Index, May 2020, e-commerce has gained $52 billion in extra online spend since the pandemic began. Within May, total online spending increased by 77% year-over-year. Consumer behavior post COVID-19 will rely heavily on e-commerce since people will be more comfortable staying home and shopping online to maintain social distancing as much as possible.
A Morning Consult poll from April 2020 involving 2,200 U.S. adults showed that 54% of the respondents were uncomfortable going to a shopping mall within the next three months. This is a common sentiment and must be taken seriously by brick-and-mortar businesses. This is the time to shift to e-commerce to de-risk your business, gain that competitive advantage and stay afloat in the long run.
Resources: Get your online business up in minutes
“How am I even going to do it? It seems so complicated!”
You can find a plethora of e-commerce tools, platforms and software online to help you take your retail business online, build an e-commerce website, manage, market and even scale your business.
For example, Shopify and BigCommerce have e-commerce website builders. You can also integrate your e-commerce store into Mento for social media marketing. You can launch a multi-vendor marketplace in minutes with MarketCube and track your progress through Google Analytics. There are tools like ZenDesk to offer good customer service, CrazyEgg to better understand your visitors’ activity, Price2Spy for online price monitoring and many more to perform any function you need.
Benefits: The power of e-commerce
“What’s in it for me?”
In three words – better, smarter, faster! With e-commerce, you’ll be able to:
- Offer your customers with a differentiated shopping experience.
- Tap into the global market even at a nascent stage of your business.
- Sell 24X7 and make money even while sleeping.
- Automate processes like dropshipping, inventory and invoice management, marketplace integration, etc.
- Accelerate go-to-market without any hassle.
- Have higher profit margins due to low operational costs.
- Offer personalized solutions at competitive prices.
- Run your store without a large workforce.
- Take advantage of ever-increasing social media penetration rates and indispensability of mobile phones.
- Collect data regarding the behavior and trends of your target market.
- Understand and predict consumer behavior using the latest technologies.
- Build an effective digital sales channel using latest technologies.
- Expand your reach and boost sales.
- Enhance consumer satisfaction and build a loyal customer base.
To put it simply, you can build a more resilient, efficient and profitable business by improving your online presence.
Need for change: The slow demise of physical stores
“But my brick-and-mortar store seems to be doing just fine!”
This is the stage where you ask yourself a question – Can your sector shield itself from the internet revolution? What this means is that you need to ask yourself if your business is impervious to the power of the internet and whether it can prosper without any physical presence.
The significance of this question can easily be gauged through this statistic:
Even with annual inflation and population rise, department store sales have dropped by 35% in the last 16 years. E-commerce is crushing traditional retail and it is pivotal to invest in online activities to sustain.
Relevance: Online retail in today’s time
“Why is there so much buzz around e-commerce anyway?”
That’s because online retail resonates with consumer behavior, habits and preferences. Let’s take a look at what customers are like these days.
- On the phone: People check their phones almost 58 times a day. An average user spends almost 3 hours 15 minutes on the phone daily while for millennials, this statistic is almost 5.7 hours a day.
- On the couch or working desk: One in every four American adults spends more than 8 hours sitting. Sedentary jobs have increased by 83% since 1950.
- Busy: Overworked, overstressed and persistently occupied, your consumers lead fast-paced lives.
- Impatient: According to a survey, 63% of Americans frequently consume a hot beverage or drink that burns their mouth; 71% exceed the speed limit to get their destination faster and more than 50% disconnect the call after being on hold for less than 60 seconds.
- Well-aware: Google processes almost 63,000 search queries every second on average. An even more alarming statistic is that almost 90% of the data in the world was generated within the last two years.
- Well-connected: With 1.49 billion daily active users on Facebook and 1 billion monthly active Instagram users, social media has changed how we process and receive information. Adults spend an estimated average of 395 minutes engaging with digital content every day.
Now let’s see what boxes e-commerce ticks – all of them. Driven by exponentially-growing mobile commerce, online retail is the go-to solution for consumers who seek the best products or services out there without wanting to invest too much time, energy and resources or without changing their existing routines. Everything at the click of a mouse!
We hope you make an informed decision about your retail business and explore the benefits of digital transformation with us. At Successive Digital, we believe that technology-enabled innovation has the potential to optimize, transform, and maximize businesses. We are in an e-commerce renaissance that is here to stay and our technology-led solutions will help you adapt and scale responsibly.