E-Commerce: What Is It, and Does Your Business Need It?
Updated: Apr 22
As a business owner, you may have heard the rumblings about how e-commerce is poised to take over from brick-and-mortar retail businesses–think Amazon, Etsy, and eBay. The ease of shopping from home is very attractive to the consumer, while potentially terrifying to the merchant! But never fear: as one of these dedicated merchants, you too can take advantage of e-commerce while maintaining your physical store.
E-commerce is defined as the practice of buying and selling goods and services over the internet, utilizing such tools as mobile devices, e-mail, electronic funds transfer, live chat customer service, and automatic data collection systems. While e-commerce shopping may raise some security concerns with consumers, the lower prices and efficiency of shopping from home or a mobile device often win them over. In 2018, there is a veritable cornucopia of e-commerce platforms available to help any merchant, large or small, start selling their goods online. Whether you decide to take your business completely online or split the difference between a physical shop and an online store, it’s best to do some research and ask around to see what’s worked well for your fellow business owners.
Think about whether your business would benefit from expanding to an online market: do you carry unique products that folks in another part of the country or world would love to get their hands on? Do your hours of operation prevent people with certain work schedules from shopping in your store? Would easier access to your products increase your customers’ engagement? Platforms like Shopify, BigCommerce, and Tictail offer the chance for businesses to reach a global audience, spread product awareness, and engage savvy and discerning shoppers who will give valuable feedback. Keep in mind that an e-commerce platform that works great for one type of business may not be advisable for another; it’s best to do some research before launching your online store. See this article for the top seven e-commerce platforms available to you in 2018.
It can be daunting for a brick-and-mortar business to take their sales to the web, but today it’s easier than ever to start. There is plenty of user feedback out there to help you make an informed decision about which platform to choose. In today’s ultra-connected world, ease and accessibility are of utmost importance to consumers. By taking your store online, you are proving that yours is a proactive and up-to-the-minute business. Trust us–your customers will thank you!