I want to challenge your thinking about what e-commerce is.
Projections from almost all e-marketing researchers are predicting rapid worldwide e-commerce growth through 2018, with no signs of slowing down. In 2016, e-commerce estimates were around $1.6 trillion, and that’s expected to grow to upwards of $2.5 trillion by the end of 2018.
E-commerce growth in the U.S. alone is expected to be between 11 and 16 percent from 2013 to 2018. Eighty percent of U.S. consumers
have made a purchase online.
Big e-commerce retailers like Amazon, eBay and Zappos have brought e-commerce to the mainstream, but you don’t have to be a huge conglomerate to take advantage of online shopping growth.
Whether you’re an entrepreneur just starting with an idea, a well-established retailer, a service provider or a tech company … you are already in e-commerce.
If you have a website, you are in e-commerce.
While you may not conduct financial transactions online, you are trading something far more valuable: attention and time of your site visitors.
Put simply: We are “selling” online.
Given how much effort companies put into getting prospects to their website, a simple mindset shift on what they see when they get there, and what your goal as the business owner is, can result in business growth.
With the mindset that you are “selling” online, here are some reasons you should consider leaning into e-commerce (the kind where you transact for money online).
Expand your business model
Think of one thing you can sell online for actual money. Do you have a service that you can productize and sell online?
Make money anywhere and everywhere
When you own a brick-and-mortar business, it’s all about location. In e-commerce, you can set up a storefront through your domain name and sell products and services anywhere in the world from a single “location.” Instead of hanging a “Sorry, we’re closed” sign on the door every time you step out of the shop, you can be sitting at a ballgame or on a beach in the Bahamas conducting business from your phone.
You have site visitors. Can you convert them into revenue? If you can’t sell something online for money, can you get your visitors to do what you want them to do?
Improve your company’s image
Savvy shoppers will be looking for an online presence from your company, whether you are currently selling or not. Without an actual e-commerce component, you are sending a message that you’re not the newest and most advanced company on the market, and that can be perceived negatively by potential customers, causing a loss of potential sales. An e-commerce component allows you to remain on the cutting edge of sales trends and customer expectations.
Offer better customer support
When you provide customers with an e-commerce option, you allow them to reach you on their time, on their terms. E-commerce offers ease of communication through electronic channels, and sellers can track the buying habits of customers to let them know of sales and promotions that might pertain to them. It’s easier to keep current customers than to find new ones, and an e-commerce platform allows your customers to have a direct line to your business any time they need it.
Ease of use and maintenance
For most businesses, it’s far easier and cheaper to set up an e-commerce component to their company than to establish a brick-and-mortar location. With the online platforms like Shopify designed explicitly for e-commerce, setting up an online presence is easier than ever.
The best way to get started is to pick one thing you can sell online. Once you have a product/service description and price ready, post it on your site. Use Shopify’s “Buy Button” or a PayPal button to get paid.
Once you have a live item(s), let your existing customers know about it. They are the most likely audience to buy from you again.