Over the years, the e-commerce trend has become increasingly alluring. While bigger companies and businesses have quickly gotten on this new train, there has been a noticeable hesitancy on the part of many small business owners.
The fear is probably linked to the belief that it would require technical knowledge, skills and infrastructure that they cannot afford.
This fear is totally unfounded. The advancements in e-commerce have made it relatively easier for small business owners to move their offline businesses online. In some cases, business owners with minimal technical knowledge can even set up these systems.
E-commerce is big and thriving and it is not going to let up. Smart small business owners are all starting to opt for it, and here are 10 reasons why:
- The increasing drift towards online stores
A recent study found that the number of people shopping online during the holidays increased dramatically from 2013 to 2014. According to data from Wipro Digital Research, 36 percent of U.S. shoppers and 45 percent of U.K. shoppers reported doing the majority of their shopping online back in 2013.
Their newest survey found that 61 percent of U.S. and 71 percent of U.K. consumers reported making the majority of their purchases online.
With at least 90% of American adults now using a smart phone, smart small business owners realize that it would be denying a large market not to exploit e-commerce.
- The presence and convenience of a larger customer base
Having an e-presence that affords a widespread knowledge about your business is one thing. Being able to do your business with it in the convenience of your office or home is another thing.
Smart small business owners realize that the world is their market, and e-commerce is their bridge to reaching them
- Saves costs in Labor and Taxation.
A small business owner running an online store, let’s say, in Massachusetts, must not hire his staff there. He can hire from out of the state or even out of the country, and take advantage of tax or labor costs.
The large cost of employing and maintaining staff to man the physical stores is drastically reduced and smart small business owners have noticed.
- Increase in revenue or stream of income.
Most times, when a small business opens a new outlet, we applaud them for their growth. But we fail to take cognizance of what it could have cost them to do that. These costs range from real estate costs, recruitment costs, advertisement costs and sometimes renovation costs.
Smart small business owners know that they can do the same online, by opening an online store for far less cost. They also double their streams of income by trading both home and abroad and still eliminate rental costs and reduce advertisement costs.
- Availability of CRM resources
While other small business owners have been a bit concerned about the management of such a large customer base, smart small business owners take advantage of CRM resources like Salesforce to help in the management of the increased and diverse market.
- Better competition with competitors and bigger businesses.
Big brick and mortar companies will readily intimidate most small businesses and compete favorably in the market. Ranging from high rise buildings and bumper billboards they naturally have an advantage.
Smart small business owners, however, realize that if they can get a strong e-presence and take advantage of SEOs they can compete very favorably with any other company in their Niche. And since quality and customer satisfaction is what really counts to the customers, they will succeed.
- You get Higher level of intelligence on Customers
You may shake Bill’s hand when he walks into your store, you may even catch an occasional drink with him, but you do not know him very well as a customer.
Ironically, studies have shown that Bill is more eager to fill survey forms online than when they are presented to him in the shops. Customers can explore these options better online and make choices simply because of the convenience.
Smart small business owners have realized this and have taken advantage of the various resources like Google analytics for visitor tracking and statistics. It is generally easier to get feedback from customers online and keep in constant communication with all the available resources.
- Location Independent Management
Smart small business owners also realize the flexibility e-commerce allows them. They don’t need to be in Massachusetts for instance in order to run their business. They can take a week off and be in Europe, or on a beach somewhere, as long as they have open communication channels and a working system in place.
- Renders the paper trail unnecessary
“Keeping records is necessary.” All business owners know this. But smart small business owners have said goodbye to the file cabinet rooms and the unnecessary piles of files and paper.
With the growth in e-commerce, customer information and transactions are monitored and stored online with tools like dropbox, making it easy to retrieve and to refer to without cluttering up a room.
- Taking better advantage of ‘window’ shopping
Window shopping has proven over time to be the mother of impulse buying. It is not uncommon to see businesses set up free sit-outs just in front of their shop windows, where people could sit, sip a drink and hopefully notice and buy something.
With e-commerce and proper internet marketing Smart small business owners have taken greater advantage of impulse buying by having ‘windows’ everywhere. It is marketing at its best when you know what you are doing.Digital & Social Articles on Business 2 Community