For most of history, the process of buying and selling remained about the same. Customers visited businesses in person to make purchases, and companies kept all of their stock stored locally. However, the advent of the internet drastically changed retail for both consumers and business owners.
It affected the way shoppers and businesses interact because more and more purchases are made online without ever visiting a physical storefront. Even when customers do visit a store in person, it’s usually after completing research online first.
According to BusinessZone, 62% of consumers say they browse online before making an in-store purchase. It can be difficult for stores with no online presence to keep up, with online retailers offering deep discounts, fast shipping and cost comparisons.
Why Small Businesses Need E-commerce
For six years in a row, e-commerce sales have grown close to or exceeded 15%. Clearly, it has become critically important for small businesses to build a strong online marketing and e-commerce strategy.
- E-commerce strategies are important for businesses of all sizes, because consumers now have multiple channels at their disposal when they shop. Those who shop in store can take their business online and vice versa. However, many small businesses have outdated e-commerce sites.
- E-commerce enables small businesses to keep pace with competitors while providing new sources of much-needed revenue as well. Because it’s relatively easy to set up an online store, small businesses really only need an internet connection to run various e-commerce solutions and a shipping process. Developing an e-commerce strategy may require less investment than opening a second brick-and-mortar location, Inc. says.
- E-commerce allows businesses to sell their products anywhere in the world rather than being restricted to the local area, so they stand to increase sales and profits. Even the smallest businesses can integrate e-commerce with their existing business website. The accessibility of online sales is ideal because it levels the playing field: Smaller operations can compete with large-scale sellers when they leverage e-commerce effectively.