Should Small Businesses Make Ecommerce a Part of Their Future Strategy?
Ecommerce is the new way of doing business for retailers and a convenient way for people to shop for their favorite stuff. Since its advent it has been anticipated that ecommerce is the future of shopping. There is no doubt that ecommerce websites remain some of the most profitable websites on the World Wide Web.
More and more people are shifting to mobile devices and the more they use mobile devices, the more they prefer online shopping over shopping in stores. But is the hype real about online stores and ecommerce being the future of shopping?
Here are a few statistics telling a brief story of ecommerce’s present condition.Image by StickSnap / Pixabay.com
How Big and Prevailing Is Ecommerce?
- Take your clock 4 years back in 2013 and there were 36% of US shoppers who were doing a bigger part of their shopping through online stores. The percentage for UK shoppers was even higher at 46%.
- That was 4 years ago, but according to the latest statistics coming from Wipro Digital, the percentages have gone much higher at 61% for the US shoppers and 71% for the UK shoppers.
- The interest from small business owners toward ecommerce stores is real. In 2014 when the holiday season was on the average expenditure of US shoppers in brick and mortar stores was $302 whereas it was $400 through online stores.
- According to the recent statistics in 2017, every year nearly 95% of the shoppers in the US are purchasing something from online stores. 5% of these people are doing online shopping on a daily basis too.
- Millennials seem to be the most lucrative generation for online stores as 67% of them shop online.
- Millennials are looking for things to purchase online for nearly 6 hours every week.
- In the last year, the statistics also showed the men are a more lucrative market for small ecommerce businesses as they shopped 28% more through online stores than women in the past year.
- The most amazing thing is that metropolitans are spending more money on online shopping than they are spending on in-store shopping.
This should give you a big picture of what’s coming in the future. As more mobile devices increase in the world and people pick convenient shopping over in-store shopping, the online ecommerce websites will become bigger and more profitable. However, there are certain challenges for small businesses when it comes to opening an ecommerce website.
Biggest Challenges for Small Business in Ecommerce Industry
When you have a small business and you want to make it online, there are certain challenges you will have to face. Here are the biggest challenges you will face:
The Biggest Giants of the Industry
Of course, you are not alone in your endeavors to profit from ecommerce. Some of the biggest giants of this industry have been around for years and decades now. It’s quite difficult to get customers to buy from you when such trusted and reliable names are there for them. Amazon, Alibaba, Target, Staples, etc. are names of some of the biggest online retailers. The hard part is that companies like Amazon have a very loyal customer base and it is hard to convince these customers to buy from elsewhere.
Setting Shipping Rates
Setting shipping rates and then sticking to a plan is something most small businesses find really difficult. The big giants of the industry provide same day shipping, next day shipping, return shipping etc. Matching with them is a huge challenge. In simple words, they have set customers’ expectations very high. Too many small ecommerce businesses then resort to flat rate shipping making their costs sound so big that customers don’t buy from them. According to the CEO of EasyPost, most of the small e-commerce businesses succumb to this pressure and just walk away.
Preventing Payment Frauds
This is a paradox, a dilemma for small ecommerce businesses. If they try to make their platform very secure, they make the system complex and hence the buying process repulsive. If they keep it too easy, they can become targets of internet frauds. Payment platforms like PayPal can be a good way for these businesses to win the trust of their customers and stay safe for themselves too.
How to Make Your Ecommerce Business Successful
Starting an e-commerce business in such a tough environment requires you to take careful and calculated steps. Here’s how you can make sure your business is a success.
Make It Mobile
The future of shopping is ecommerce, and the future of e-commerce is mobile. If you really want to be a part of the competition, you have to jump in with a sound mobile e-commerce strategy, often referred to as m-commerce. If you are up-to-date with the latest trends you would know that the world now has more mobile users than desktop users.
However, small businesses are struggling to reap the benefits of ecommerce through mobile platforms for one big reason – they are not mobile. According to 2015 statistics, adults in the US were spending 59% of their shopping time on mobile devices compared to only 41% on desktops, however, money-wise they spent 85% purchasing stuff on desktops.
The problem lies in how small businesses aren’t currently realizing the mobile market and creating ecommerce websites suited and optimized for mobile experience. In 2014, out of more than $300 billion revenue generated in the US through e-commerce, only 11.6% was from mobile devices. However, this figure is supposed to rise to $284 billion by 2020, which will be 45% of the total ecommerce revenue in the US.
Make It Secure
One of the biggest reasons people will not buy online is because they feel their information is not safe. To make your ecommerce websites secure you need to introduce secure payments methods and the SSL. SSL stands for secure sockets layer, a certificate that guarantees your website is safe for users to give out their information. People are much aware of this security protocol and won’t buy stuff from your website unless they find signs of SSL presence.
Make It Marketable
Lastly, you need to make your ecommerce website marketable. You do that by optimizing your e-commerce website’s every page properly. You need to create multiple landing pages and work on every page to optimize it according to the URL locations from where people are coming on them. You need to work with an internet marketing team to familiarize and incorporate the concept of CRO – conversion rate optimization.
By testing various elements on the page, call-to-action buttons, their shapes, sizes etc. they make your landing pages more compelling and convincing for the website traffic to finally place an order.
Waqar Hassan is a Digital Marketing Expert and a Blogger who helps businesses with their digital marketing approach. He is the CEO and Founder of Burgeoning Technologies, a Web and IT Company that has offices in Pakistan and Middle East. Waqar also manages several websites and blogs including MenaEntrepreneur.org. Follow Waqar on Twitter and Google+.Read Full Bio