It’s not enough for a business just to have a web presence anymore, they need to be able to sell their products online too. Consumers are looking for the opportunity to buy from your online store. If you don’t have that option for them, you’re losing potential business, and maybe even significantly hurting your bottom line. Larger companies have fallen because they didn’t have an e-commerce option.
Look at Borders Books & Music. From 2001 to 2008, Borders sold its online shopping inventory to Amazon.com. Instead of investing in a digital warehouse that could sustain their business for years to come, they looked for a quick solution, that eventually would be a big reason for their downfall. Amazon, for the record, has become the leading source for e-shopping.
Borders didn’t respect the internet. They thought that as long as they offered amazing personal service and served refreshing lattes, people would still visit the store. People do like fantastic customer service, but they also like being able to turn on their computer and have an item sent to them.
80% of the people who use the internet have bought an item online. I am part of that 80%. I use it when I’m shopping for gifts. I use it to find tickets for concerts or Red Sox games. I visit clothing stores online to shop for new shirts. Some nights, when I order pizza and don’t feel like talking on the phone to place the order, I’ll do it online.
In today’s digital society, purchasing goods and services through the internet isn’t a fad but the trend. By adding e-commerce properties to your website, you are putting your business in a position to be a part of the trend and offer customers options your competitors can’t. The reality of the situation is only 28% of small businesses have online stores available.
E-commerce is more than just selling your products online - it’s about creating a community among your shoppers. It’s the ability to create two distinct shopping centers, the physical and the virtual store. It’s having more content on your page that search engine crawlers can find, reference and lead web searches to your business.
Don’t think of these platforms as only sales portals. Each item you sell has its own web page. It has its own distinct URL. It has its own picture. It has its own description. It has its own internal links. Everything that a website needs to help build influence in web searches can be secured with a virtual store solution.
Product pages also give you the opportunity to connect your social media audience with the product directly. By sharing the specific product with your audience, especially if it’s a new product or an item on sale. 84% of online shoppers use social media to help them decide what to buy.
The marketplace isn’t local or even regional anymore, it’s global. Your store can be accessed not only by a customer down the street, but by one in another state, or maybe even in another country. The key to having a successful business is having your company be accessible. Putting your brand and products online gives every customer on the internet the accessibility that is required to build your company in the 21st century.
Nick Pizzolato is the Marketing Content Manager at Wicked Local Media Solutions. For questions, topics for future blogs, or to share your favorite moment from the film “Back to the Future,” email him at email@example.com.