The Top 10 Advantages of eCommerce for Business
If you’re considering taking your business online, you’ll certainly need to understand what eCommerce is and also its advantages for your business and your customers. All of which we’ll break down and cover off here to get you moving in the right direction.
It’s no secret that the world is becoming increasingly digital – and that’s something all businesses have to reflect. In fact, according to Oberlo, the number of people buying goods online was expected to grow to 2.05 billion in 2020, meaning that more than a quarter (26.28%) of the world’s 7.8 billion population now shops online.
As a result, the world of online retail continues to grow at an incredible rate and has never been more exciting. As a business owner, you’ll be weighing up the advantages of eCommerce and how taking what you’ve worked to build offline into the online landscape will benefit you. But first, let’s start from the beginning:
What is eCommerce?
The term eCommerce can be defined as the act of buying or selling products, goods, or services via the internet or, more broadly, electronically. It also refers to the money transfers required to make such transactions possible.
It would be easy to assume eCommerce only applied to physical goods, such as a new pair of running shoes, a bicycle or television. However, it can also refer to services such as online or classroom based lessons or even downloads such as eBooks.
The top 10 advantages of eCommerce
- Lower costs
- Fast time-to-market
- Widens your reach
- Chance to sell more
- Captures searches
- Enables better understanding of your customers
- Seamless scalability
- Business growth opportunities through content marketing
- Control over product presentation
- Multiple payment gateways
Advantages of eCommerce for your business
All of these factors are fantastic advantages to bring to your business and mean you can evolve with the market to watch your company grow and thrive in a cost-effective dna flexible way.
1. Lower costs
From the cost of renting premises to paying regular staff members, the financial price of running a brick and mortar business can soon add up. Invest in an affordable, robust and scalable eCommerce platform to take your store online and you can significantly reduce business expenses.
2. Fast time-to-market
The eCommerce landscape is competitive, there’s no doubting that – but with a flexible platform, you’ll quickly be able to get products out to customers.
Your go-to-market possibilities are significantly increased thanks to the incredible eCommerce options available – and all offer swift turnaround times. With the help of a user-friendly platform, you can get your store up and running online with very little fuss and sell your products in no time.
3. Widens your reach
A physical store can only take you so far, especially if you’re not part of a chain. With eCommerce your geographical limitations are largely stripped away and you can easily sell to a wider audience – even internationally (think of all those global shoppers mentioned above!).
You can also create and link up social media channels with your site and even integrate with marketplaces such as Amazon and Etsy if your brand fits – the possibilities are wide ranging.
4. Chance to sell more
In a high street shop, you’re only able to accept payment for a product you have in store. While you can order an item for your customer to collect, they’re often likely to reject this invitation and look elsewhere for something more immediate.
Simply put, eCommerce allows a business to sell more products to customers, which satisfies the customer and ensures you have a good chance of retaining their business for future purchases.
The inventory management capabilities of many eCommerce platforms also help you to manage stock levels and hide out of stock items with little fuss.
5. Captures searches
You truly are missing a trick if you don’t invest in eCommerce in the modern retail landscape as, even back in 2018, a staggering 87% of shoppers began their search for a product online. When people are wondering what to buy, put your products and services in front of them.
6. Enables better understanding of your customers
This is a huge highlight of eCommerce – you have lots of access to customer data. From their contact information to buying behaviour – there’s lots you can achieve with customer data, from building a positive personal relationship to using collective customer data to shape and amend what you offer to better suit their needs. Always remember to comply with GDPR, however.
Many solutions have comprehensive analytics available that you can also integrate with other reporting tools.
7. Seamless scalability
Your eCommerce site can quickly grow if you experience an increase in demand, or if you want to enter new markets in different languages, as many solutions provide multiple language packs. Manage booms and increase ad spend at the click of a button.
With a physical store, you’re constrained by the space you have available and/or the slow process of moving into larger premises.
8. Business growth opportunities through content marketing
It’s not all spend, spend, spend when it comes to eCommerce. You can grow your audience, and therefore your business, organically with the help of smart content marketing.
Improve functional content on your product pages, create a blog and write relevant articles and you’ll start to see search engine ranking improvements. Executed well, this can drive traffic to your store at no great financial cost to your business.
9. Control over product presentation
When potential customers search for a product, the first thing they’ll see is how you’ve presented your item. You can control how this looks and how much information is included.
For instance, you can add images of the product, a description of what it is, the category the product is in, the price, shipping fee and the delivery timescales.
Your customer then has all the information they need to make an informed decision about their purchase.
10. Multiple payment gateways
Customers love having the freedom to choose and that includes how they wish to pay. From your typical debit or credit card payment to a PayPal transaction, you can cater for all customers with extensions.
Payment gateways can also be set up to support a range of languages and currencies – perfect for when you want to scale to international sales.
Advantages of eCommerce for your customers
- Great customer experience
- Saves time and money
These points might all seem very simple – but the majority of consumers want and need a simple, convenient, fast and inexpensive online retail experience with a broad choice of products. They’ve come to expect it in the digital world too.
If you’re able to provide great customer service along with all of these factors, you’ll tick all the boxes for your customers. This will ensure you keep them coming back – they might even refer your business to friends and family too.
The ability to provide customers with a really broad range of choice in a physical store is limited by the space available. Online shoppers often look to eCommerce stores to provide what they’ve not been able to find on the high street.
An online store can provide your customers with a broad range of products and services. You might also have other assets you can put on your digital platform such as brochures, eBooks or recipe cards which offer extra value to your customers, too.
While your physical store is likely to have limited opening hours, you can provide customers with a 24/7 service if you utilise eCommerce to take your business online.
The addition of eCommerce allows the consumer to become free of physical constraints and able to use your services at a time most convenient for them.
Great customer experience
When online retailers get the user journey right, they provide a customer looking for their specific problem a ‘no brainer’. An easy to use website that’s clear, eye-catching and provides amazing products quickly and easily? Why wouldn’t a customer return time and again? Little touches around messaging – from your on-page content to in-delivery notes – can make all the difference here.
Saves time and money
So many people are ‘time poor’ – and in need to make their money go further. Online shopping removes the need to get in a car or on public transport to visit the shops and search for an item in person.
Through the power of eCommerce, consumers can search for exactly what they want and compare prices to discover the cheapest item, then order within minutes – sometimes seconds – and have the product delivered directly to their home.
Physical shops also have overheads that need accounting for, such as staff and rent which can often result in bumped up product prices for consumers. Any small edge you can get on price will be appreciated by purchasers.
Now you’ve got an overview of the way eCommerce works, what it means and its potential advantages for your business and your customers, it might be time to expand what you offer.
At Xigen, our team of design and development specialists are platform agnostic and will only ever recommend what we consider to be the best possible fit for your business.
If you’re interested in taking your venture online, get in touch with our eCommerce experts to start your digital sales journey.