Many people are moving from physically visiting a store to shopping from the comfort of their own home. Online shopping has become a growing trend across the globe as it has allowed consumers to get what they want at the click of a button and delivered to their doorstep- all through ecommerce.
South Africa has been slower to grasp the online shopping trend in relation to the rest of the world. Big names such as Woolworths, Pick and Pay and Dischem have incorporated an online store into their business models. While other new brands have seen success by launching primarily with an ecommerce site, for example, Superbalist, Zando and Takealot.com. Incorporating an ecommerce site into your business model can be very beneficial for the overall success of the business.
Reasons why your Business should have an Ecommerce store?
Comprehensive Description of Products:
With an online store you can provide your customers with as much information as possible. Thorough product descriptions can be displayed online, allowing the consumer to make an informed decision when purchasing a product. Other useful information includes previous customer’s ratings of the product, shipping details and in-depth descriptions of the product. Staff don’t need to be trained to answer all the in-depth questions if they are displayed online.
Create an Online Presence:
Establishing an ecommerce site will create an online presence for your business. An ecommerce site thrives when it receives a large amount of traffic as opposed to a brick and mortar store that has to extensively advertise in order to compete against other stores. Billions of people are online every day whether they are looking to buy or not. By having an online store, businesses can reach far more customers than physical stores as an online store is open 24/7. Creating an online presence will also boost your brand awareness as people will always search online and as you create more pages, the search engines can index them and boost your placement. It is crucial to use good keywords in your content that are optimized for your audience as this is crucial to drive traffic to your site. A good looking website that provides an easy user experience will also attract more customers.
Reduce the Costs of Managing and Maintaining Inventory:
In a physical store there are a variety of costs that are involved in managing inventory. Physical means of managing inventory are tedious and costly as opposed to an ecommerce store. An online store provides the means and facilities to manage inventory in a more cost effective way. An example of such system is inventory management. There is a web based system through which you can automate the inventory in your website, once automated the system will manage inventory for you. This allows the business to focus on other areas and reduces the operating costs of the business.
Know the Consumer:
Having an ecommerce site allows the business to get to know their customers on a more personal level. With an online store, you can view customers purchasing history, what pages and products they viewed, therefore keeping up to date with the purchasing patterns of your customers. In a brick and mortar store, there is a limited way in which the purchasing patterns of customers can be determined.
Through an online store it is easier to push products to the customer as they are shown what they have recently viewed or what they have left in their cart and not yet purchased. Therefore, the product is pushed for purchase. If an item is out of stock, customers can be notified when it is in stock and then return to the online store to purchase it as opposed to having to physically go to the store.
Drive conversions and Sales:
When you open up your business globally without any geographical or time constraints, you capture new audiences that you wouldn’t be able to reach otherwise. With a user friendly site, a quality product, and an efficient delivery and returns system, an ecommerce site will drive sales and word of mouth marketing. Analytics will also help you fine tune your marketing strategies and provide quantitative evidence of the users on your site.
Computerized and Competent:
An ecommerce site is always efficient even when a large amount of users are online all at once. Employees may get frustrated, tired and flustered when there are too many customers, thus producing bad customer service. One way the business can save money is by having fewer employees as everything is computerized. Generally, an online store is cheaper and easier to run which in turn creates more profit for the business. Starting an ecommerce store is cheaper than starting a physical store as setting up a website is less costly than paying a large monthly rental.
These are the great benefits of having an ecommerce store but a business that is thinking of incorporating an ecommerce store must bear in mind that it should be slick, efficient and convenient for the consumer otherwise a badly implemented ecommerce store will only tarnish your brand.