Limited hours, store closures, skyrocketing rent, COVID-19—the list of threats facing brick and mortar retail stores seems practically endless. Besides, most shoppers are doing their research online, and many of them want to buy their products that way as well.
Search engines have done more than provide convenience for consumers, though; they’ve also helped create a vibrant new digital marketplace where smart online retailers can thrive. Read on to discover why selling online should be part of your sales strategy.
e-Commerce vs. Traditional Retail
Let’s think about shopping from a customer’s perspective. What does shopping online offer that traditional retail doesn’t?
In many ways, shopping online is simply easier than going to a brick-and-mortar store. Here are a few of them:
- No need to travel to and from a separate location
- No waiting in long lines or dealing with unhelpful staff
- Fewer problems with out-of-stock items
- Allows the ability to multitask (shop while working or watching TV!)
Consumers who shop online can save time, gas, and peace of mind. And with same-day delivery options for many e-commerce stores, shopping online can be just as fast, too!
Shopping online can also help a lot of consumers save money. Online businesses don’t have to pay for things like:
As a result, online businesses face lower operating costs than brick and mortar stores and can afford to lower their prices—which allows them to offer better value than traditional retailers.
The Benefits of Selling Online
Now that we know why so many people prefer to buy online, it’s time to look at the advantages of selling online for businesses.
Having a successful brick and mortar store often requires you to set up shop in an area with high foot traffic, which means fighting (and paying) for prime real estate. But online stores allow you to sell to customers all over the world.
Online stores never close, which means you’re not limited to selling during regular business hours. And with so many potential customers in different time zones, that’s a very good thing.
You don’t have to pay staff to work 24/7, either—once your store is set up, it can automatically process purchases around the clock. You get to catch up on sleep, and spend your work hours fulfilling orders instead of trying to make sales.
Data & Analysis
One of the largest advantages to selling online is how easy it makes collecting data about your business. Traditional retailers ask their customers to fill out surveys or pay consultants exorbitant amounts of money to conduct market research, but platforms like Shopify provide useful and easy-to-understand data about how your online store is doing so that you don’t have to.
How to Be Successful at Selling Online
Understanding why to sell online is one thing; knowing how to do it is another. Fortunately, we’ve got some tips to help you focus on the right things. Here’s what you need to consider:
User Experience (UX)
Put simply, UX is about how people perceive and interact with your business. Online retailers can improve UX by providing clear and focused product information, high-quality photos, and prominently-displayed prices for their items.
To really nail UX, though, you’ll want to spend some time on the design and content of your online store. We’ll talk about how to do that in a moment.
Your customers need to be aware of your policies. How long do you take to process and ship orders? What taxes do you charge? What is the process for returning an item? This information (and more) should be clearly and concisely laid out on your site where people can easily find it.
Mobile e-commerce is projected to make up 45% of US e-commerce by 2021, accounting for over $284B in sales—and the same trend is taking hold throughout the rest of the world. If you want a chunk of that change, you need to make your online store mobile friendly so people can access it easily from their devices.
Get Help Making Online Sales
Don’t worry if you don’t know how to design for mobile devices—or if you don’t know how to design at all! Hiring outside help to improve your store’s UX, mobile-friendliness, and other key factors can be an investment that helps you achieve success far more quickly, paying for itself (and then some) in the long run.
RS Creativ designs and builds online stores for a diverse spectrum of retailers—and we design for mobile devices before desktops to ensure that UX is always optimal for our clients. Contact us for more information about selling online successfully, and let us show you how we can help.