Online sales in Australia increased by 17% in 2014, with over 74% of Internet users making at least one online purchase! Similar is the trend across the globe. Walmart, traditionally a brick-and-mortar only business is now scrambling in sales as Amazon is making unprecedented sales. Not too surprised then when it 'hastily' bought 51% stake of the Chinese ecommerce platform Yihaodian. With the transatlantic super highway (NBN) to be "fully" rolled out across Australia, this trend is going to increase in unprecedented pace from now onwards.
So, what are the 'said' advantages of having and online store? Hmm.. Beside keeping the shop open 24/7 and allowing users to self-serve, browse the products and make a purchase all by themselves - it is also proving to be an invaluable education tool for the customers before they even want to check out the products 'in real' at the shops. With fast shipping, convenient payment and delivery and buyer centric options like returns and guarantees and offers and discounts, further rise of online purchase is inevitable.
No matter how tricky or non-web friendly a product or service is, there is no alternative but to start selling online! Some businesses might say how. Better figure that it out sooner otherwise others will and take over!
Here are the top 5 reasons why web store is needed.
Turn an anonymous into customer and a contact thereafter
Okay, you have a great store. All fancy. All at the right location. And you turn up regular sales! You even see lots of lovely faces all day come and go. Alas, you could also ask each of them their name, email address, phone or other details, right? Let's face it, it's not easy to get those. However, an ecommerce sale, not possible otherwise! Each sales gets the contact details of it's customer, name and email address to the minimum. They are no longer anonymous :).
The whole world is the prospect
One of the drawback of the brick-and-mortar business is that it's location centric; one store can only target specific areas and customers in that area. The business is limited by the practical physical limitations. E-commerce can break that barrier - using the internet any one can find a store from anywhere and become the customer. Moreover, unlike a physical store, an e-commerce store is accessible from everywhere and in any device - mobile, desktop, or laptop - no matter where they are. Just the swipe or a click and the whole store is up in the screen. Ecommerce is breaking all the boundaries of traditionally operating a store.
Sell 24/7 365 days a year
An online store is available 24/7, 365 days a year (except for some maintenance downtime, if at all). You can reach to your customer and customer can reach you any time at any day. Live chats, contact forms, online appointments bookings and offline communications, your customer can communicate with you in multitude of ways. They can browse all your products and services, you can tell them various how-tos, tips, tricks that they love. And they can take their credit card out and buy stuffs, there and then. No waiting. Even at the middle of the night or most odd hours!
Market - then remarket or even accept return
As your customers are now your contacts, you can maintain a healthy relationship with them and can also push them offers or engage with them in some other form. Nice, huh? Remarketing is the power of e-commerce, which may not be possible or easy in your physical store. A business can keep the record of any online customer, at the minimum there email address, so that they can be sent promotions, offers and marketing materials. This in-turn allows you to sell many times to the same customer.
Access To Real & Accurate Data
Equipped with the right analytic tool, you can view the browsing patterns, what is more popular, what times are more busy, what is the age-bracket, gender, location of your visitors and buyers. This in-turn allows you to get invaluable data insights and makes it easy for the owner to examine their business's overall performance.
The world is changing. Advances in Information Technology is sweeping across the world, in every field. Hence every business now needs to adapt to this or they risk losing it. Still considering - check the inforgraphics here.