This year, online shopping is expected to reach $370 billion. More than ever, consumers are opting out of in-store purchases in favor of the convenience of online shopping. Businesses that understand and facilitate this experience are the ones who will profit from that expected $370 billion spend.
Although nothing can replace the tangible experience of visiting a brick and mortar store and interacting with products in-person, online storefronts have become a necessary component to business growth in today’s online economy.
So if you’re still on the fence over whether or not you should launch an online storefront, here are four more reasons to take your business online.
Expand Your Presence
One of the biggest benefits of taking your business online is that you immediately grow your presence without the cost of opening another physical location and without the limitations of geographical boundaries. Essentially, an online store expands your reach from the customers in your immediate geographical vicinity to the whole world. And if the idea of building a website is intimidating, fear not! When it comes to starting an online store, there are multiple options depending on your budget and skill level. If you have the means, hiring a professional web developer could be a relatively stress-free and easy solution. But if you tend to fall more in the DIY category, creating an online store yourself can produce some of the same results while significantly cutting costs. All you’ll need is a domain name, web hosting account and a payment gateway. And yes, in case you were wondering, Eliot does have a payment gateway solution for your business. To learn more about it, contact us here.
Grow Brand Awareness
An online store establishes and expands your brand in several ways. First, a website immediately makes your business “shareable” across multiple platforms such as email and social media. In turn, this equips your customers to become brand advocates by giving them an avenue to share your business with their own friends, family and social networks. Second, an online website gives you a platform to more fully define and express your brand identity and personality through design, images and messaging. This also helps establish brand consistency – every person who visits your website will experience the exact same process, messaging and imagery. On the other hand, perceptions of your brand based on brick and mortar experiences can vary depending on a variety of factors such as who’s working, how long the check-out line is or what you have in stock. Finally, a website lends your business an additional layer of prestige and credibility.
Get More Customers
By opening an online storefront, anyone that has access to the internet could be your next customer. And enabling your website for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) can help ensure that the right people find your business just when they need it. In addition, an e-commerce website provides an excellent conduit of customer data. Tracking data points like best-selling items, popular shopping times and customer locations will give you the information you need to make decisions that lead to continued growth.
Increase Customer Satisfaction
Simply put, an online store allows your customers to shop on their own terms. Whether they’re shopping after hours, from their living room couch or on the go, your business is always available when they need it. Not only does this mean that you could be making sales after you go home for the day, but the heightened convenience will increase customer satisfaction and keep them coming back for more.
So what are you waiting for? Launch your online store and snag a piece of that $370 billion.