If you own or operate a business without an online shop, you are missing out on a tremendous opportunity. The Global Ecommerce Playbook suggests that online sales reached over $2.8 trillion in 2018 with an expectation to hit $4.8 trillion by 2021. Customers just love the ease and convenience of browsing an online store in their pajamas!
Opening an online store is not the same as creating a fully-online business. Brick and mortar stores with physical locations can also choose to do business online concurrently and are in a unique position to grow. Of course, being able to handle the increase in orders and revenue means needing access to one of the largest credit card processors on the market.
Whether you’ve contemplated setting up an online shop for your business or you’re considering it now for the first time, here are the top 7 reasons you should make the move:
1. Better Image for Your Brand
While there is still a generation of shoppers who prefer to visit a physical location, talk to a sales associate, and make a purchase in person, there are far more who understand the value of having an online presence.
If your business doesn’t even have a simple website, it’s hard for shoppers to take your company seriously. Companies of all sizes utilize websites, blogs, social media, and other aspects of an online store to establish their brand. In fact, a significant online presence can launch even the smallest companies into success.
2. New Customers
There is an old adage in business that ranks location as the most essential element for a business. While having a shop in a place with lots of organic traffic can certainly impact your visibility and sales, your online location gives you access to the entire world.
Customers who might not want to make the trip to visit your location are eager to make a purchase online. By opening up an online shop, you can quickly increase your customer base.
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3. Higher Sales
An online shop for your business accomplishes a couple of things in regards to sales. More customers can find your products and services, which means there is a large pool of people who can make purchases.
At the same time, people are more likely to spend more when they are using a website or app. The level of convenience added when customers can shop online means they’ll make more purchases more often than before. It’s also easier for them to share your products with friends by simply sharing a link to your virtual showroom.
4. Increased Availability
While various businesses stay open 24 hours a day, not all companies can manage these extended hours. With an online shop, your customers aren’t held back by only shopping when you’re open. They can explore your catalog, learn about your products, and place orders when it’s convenient for them.
Even companies that don’t offer physical products can benefit from increased availability. An offline service business can still attract customers and provide information about services offered. Customers can learn, ask questions, and even book any time of day or night. In the case that they want more information, you can simply get back to them as soon as you’re able.
On top of added convenience, an online store doesn’t require additional costs to stay open all day. The costs that go into developing the site and utilizing the largest credit card processors don’t necessarily change because you take orders at any time. If your online store grows enough, it’s easier to justify increasing your staff as needed to handle incoming questions and orders.
5. Customers are Happier
An online store gives you the entire power of the internet. That means you can create videos, pamphlets, webinars, and more. These creations can help provide answers to the questions your customers ask the most. Instead of devoting time to explaining a setup process to a new customer, you can make a video accessible to them that they can access any time they want.
You can also take advantage of email campaigns, blogs, and other content production methods to keep your customers engaged. Whether you provide information on how to better use your product or keep them updated on new developments, a strong relationship with customers will result in higher sales.
6. Reduce Costs
An online store can actually help you save money. By putting more information online, your staff can focus on other tasks. That means your sales team doesn’t have to spend their time explaining technical features. They can hit the pavement to make better sales.
In some cases, you can even reduce the number of staff members necessary. This not only reduces employee costs, but will impact overall office expenses.
An online store also allows you to integrate with other services that can save your company money. For example, an online store makes it easier to work with a virtual assistant or virtual accountant.
7. Better Marketing Opportunities
There will also be an avenue for traditional marketing and advertising methods. The internet provides better ways to tie your marketing efforts into your online store. Many online marketing techniques come at relatively low costs but with massive returns.
Online marketing also allows you to target a specific audience. An ad on Facebook, for example, will enable you to select geographic locations, special interests, socioeconomics, and more.
How to Get Started
Once you realize that an online store can take your business to the next level, the only question is how to get started. There are tons of options in how exactly you set up your shop, and no one method can meet the needs of every bossiness. In general, there are some things that you should consider:
You’ll need a domain name and a hosting service. This is the address to your company’s website and store. Your hosting account pays to actually store your files, data, etc. online. If you already have a website, you’re already most of the way there.
Obtain an SSL Certificate. There are various options on how to get an SSL Certificate. This is what changes a website’s address from “http://www…” to https://www…” – the “s” shows customers that your site is secure and is a safe place to make an online purchase.
You’ll want an eCommerce merchant account with access to the largest credit card processors available. This account is what allows you to take different credit card payments and more. Consider a high-volume merchant account so that you’re not hit with limits on how much you can sell.
Put your items, products, or services online and start selling. You can post pictures, create videos, write descriptions, and more to help customers make a purchase.
You’ve worked hard to create a physical space for your business. Take your company to a new level by setting up an online store today!