ICYMI, E-Commerce has come a long way since it started going mainstream even a few years ago. Back then I spoke on this very topic and how the big box stores such as Gander Mountain (which reorg’d since), HH Gregg and some other large names shut their doors – pre-Covid! If you are still only existing in a brick and mortar format you are losing sales. You just are.
Covid & the Move to Online
We can’t forget the sickly elephant in the room. Covid is a major player, but let’s be honest. People have been shopping online more and more each year. According to Pew Research Center roughly 8 in 10 Americans are now online shoppers. This is in stark contrast to the 22% that had purchased something online in 2000 according to the same article. Notice a trend? Of course you do!
Ignoring 8 out of 10 Americans because you are only available in a brick and mortar format could cost your business lost sales over time. Amazon drivers are modern day heroes for a reason. Everyone who is stuck at home is spending their money online in some way.
The Gig Economy and Direct to Consumer
Just like the gig economy has taken off, so have direct to consumer purchases. People want to support small businesses, and platforms such as Etsy are ever more in the spotlight. Retailers have to be adept at forecasting consumer trends, and need to offer additional value to the consumer in order to draw them to their store, whether brick and mortar or online.
User experience will always be crucial. The art of curating the shopping experience for consumers is huge, and continues to be a major trend in the industry. Think Stitchfix, Zulily, FirstLeaf…they don’t ask the consumer to pick what they want as the primary experience. They get to know the consumer through interaction with the website, and recommend items based on metrics and quizzes. One could argue there will always be a place for Amazon, but being able to offload tasks such as shopping for clothes or researching wines is a big time saver for a lot of consumers, and the surprise factor is always a bit of fun.
While grabbing a coffee with a friend and perusing the racks at your local brick and mortar is always fun, having the backup e-commerce site is important for those who are either stuck at home presently, can’t coordinate a stop by the store, or even for someone who regrets not buying an item they felt drawn to.
There is a definite experience factor to a brick and mortar store, but even in spite of this, 93% of consumers, according to Forrester, prefer to buy online today.
Extend Your Reach
Want to make more money? Instead of marketing to your neighbors, market to the USA (or world) by utilizing things like SEO (Search Engine Optimization), SEM (Search Engine Marketing), multi-channel e-commerce and more. While there is a learning curve, you already have the retail mindset. Put your foundational knowledge to use, take some classes or hire a consultant (ahem), and start moving! In sales-speak you are entering new markets and are taking advantage of a low barrier to entry.
Take Orders While You Sleep
What could be easier?! There is a three hour time difference in the USA alone. People want what you are selling, and if your store is closed your customers can go to your website, buy, and pick up in the store tomorrow, or just have their purchases shipped. It’s like having extra staffing without hiring the extra staff.
How We Can Help
Certum can design your website, compile an initial inventory and sync your e-commerce engine to your QuickBooks for convenience and accuracy. Using our platform BigCommerce we can help your business take advantage of things like headless commerce, multi-channel selling and more. We chose BigCommerce for our preferred primary e-commerce partner due to their low learning curve, affordable cost of ownership, and security strengths.
What You Can Do
Figure out what you can take on. Learn Google Analytics so you can grow your website over time to be intuitive and alert to customer needs. Listen to podcasts and take classes on modern selling, if you aren’t already. While there are consultants available for just about every need out there, you need a budget (and I don’t mean the app). Plus, there are definite upsides to knowing the basics of how to manage a website. It isn’t click and go. It’s click, go, review, research, tweak, go again, fix that bug, adjust, update, and so on. It isn’t worth doing if you aren’t ready to put the effort into managing it, or finding someone who will, and no matter what, you will need to know enough to converse intelligently with your consultants over time. It’s progress, not perfection. Take the steps today to make sure you are a part of the economy tomorrow. When you are ready, book a meeting with us to go over the possibilities.