There are a lot of retail stores that have been successfully running their business for several years. Yet they are often afraid to open their own online store to compliment their brick and mortar store.
When we have talked to store owners we hear all kinds of reasons why not to open an online store. Building an online store is expensive, it will be time consuming to maintain and maintenance can cost thousands in recurring fees and that they need to hire a specialist to update the software running the online store. There are many more fears that we’ve heard.
Because of that kind of fears and assumptions, many retail stores today are either losing sales or they definitely are not gaining sales from people who otherwise would buy their products online.
Progress in technology is here to help
Today it’s easier than ever to add e-commerce capabilities to your retail store. Technology has made huge advancements in the past few years to allow store owners open an online store without heavy up-front investments.
It’s not necessary any more to pay thousands to have an online store set up. There are many e-Commerce SaaS (Software as a Service) platforms that allows you to create an online store without spending too much to get started. Create an account online, pick a theme, add products and you’re good to go. That’s how easy it can be and without any additional hidden costs on maintenance since e-Commerce platforms take care of that without any additional costs. Anyone can make their own online store, making it an interesting and satisfying journey.
What do numbers say?
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) published a Total Retail 2017 survey that surveyed some 24,000 shoppers worldwide. Based on PwC report it looks like gains in revenue growth has been mainly driven by online sales (growth over 7% when compared to retail sector as a whole) and traditional retailers are either not growing or declining in revenue. That’s why all the major retailers are going after multi-channel model where traditional retail stores support online stores and vice versa.
Some interesting details from the report outline that consumer preferences are making a swift turn towards e-Commerce channels. As you can see below online sales channels are coming close to traditional retail stores for shoppers.
- Books, music, movies & video games - 60% vs 28%
- Toys - 39% vs 37%
- Consumer electronics & computers - 43% vs 51%
- Sports equipment/outdoor - 36% vs 44%
- Health & beauty (cosmetics) - 37% vs 47%
On average, 50% of consumers choose to purchase online and stores that do not provide ways to buy online are losing customers. We anticipate that the influence of online stores will become even more significant over next five years since the barrier of entry to e-Commerce is becoming much lower as we progress. There are a lot of specialized online stores being opened who approach the market by clever marketing, personal touch and cater to consumers who want to shop by not leaving their homes.
Opening an online store is easier if you already have a business
Traditional retail store owners have already experienced the challenges to manage accounting, employees, inventory, etc. and are in better position to expand their business to online sales too. Opening an online store to compliment the traditional retail store is a great way to gain the shoppers who otherwise would not become customers.
Traditional retail store owners already know their customer preferences quite well - they understand their desires; they know what products they should offer to the customer. Knowing your customers before creating an online store is definitely a big plus because the online store can be designed completely based on the needs of your current target audience. For example, by setting up special promotions, creating upsell processes or sending individual offers to the right customer at the right time.
Multi-Channel approach with Facebook
Retailers choose often to create their store pages on Facebook by creating additional channel for their business. Very few retailers know that their Facebook page can be used not only as marketing platform but to generate direct revenue by allowing visitors to make the purchase inside Facebook platform. Easier it is for the customer to purchase a product, the happier they are. Facebook stores are available for several e-commerce platforms, including Shoperb.
With the rapid growth in online sales, there is no doubt that every traditional retail store should at seriously consider opening its own online store to be competitive both in short and long term. Reality today is that there are potentially 50% of shoppers who potentially want to buy your products online.
We are driven by our customer’s success and want to do everything in our power to help our merchants to be successful. Lets help them together by creating an online store today.