9.1 million Australian households shopped online between 1 July 2020 and 30 June 2021.
If your company doesn’t have an e-commerce site, you could be missing out on thousands of dollars of revenue. Even worse, you’re losing thousands of potential customers who would only have found you through e-commerce.
No matter what type of business you have, an e-commerce website is essential to getting more customers, increasing sales, and ultimately helping your company grow.
Below, we show you 5 ways e-commerce is beneficial for your business so you can take your company from surviving to thriving.
1. It Expands Your Customer Base
How many times have you ordered, tried, and loved a product that was made in a different country?
E-commerce is what made it possible for you to buy this product in the first place. Even if you may be struggling to find local customers, when you set up an online store, you make it possible for new customers to find you.
You may also find that your biggest customer base isn’t local at all. And if you have the most revenue from non-local customers, then you may need to shift your business strategy to optimize revenue.
Find Your Ideal Customers
E-commerce can also help you find your ideal customers. They may be across the country or overseas, but you need to set up an online store, so they can find you.
For example, let’s say you make and sell a hot sauce that is inspired by your grandmother’s culture. But few locals have your shared ancestry and you’re having trouble getting traction.
But then you find out that there is a large diaspora of your grandmother’s descent in London. You create a Shopify store, market to that community, and the orders start pouring in.
This type of scenario would only be possible with e-commerce. The right customers need to be able to find you and then order from you in an easy process.
Understand Customer Needs
Aside from getting more customers, an online store helps you to better understand customer needs. When you have an expanded pool of customers and more sales, you can use analytics to understand your customers better.
This includes data on which products are the most popular, what demographics buy your products the most, the pain points of your customers, and how many people buy a product after looking at the product page.
You may start out your business with an idea of your customers’ needs, only to find out through analytics that their needs are different than you thought.
Remember that your customers’ needs change over time as well, and also vary by season, situation, and changing demographics.
While you can create charts depicting the trends of your in-store customers’ buying habits, online analytics is a faster, more accurate way of gauging customer behaviour. This way, you can create marketing campaigns that target your customers in a more accurate and helpful way.
2. E-Commerce Helps You Market Your Business
You might be surprised to find out that an e-commerce website lets you use some of the best marketing strategies.
You can use customer information to market your business to existing customers. For example, you could enter their details into an email database and email them about new products and promotions.
You could also use a customer database to offer special promotions to loyal customers.
On your website’s main page, you could create a pop-up window to give a special introductory offer to new customers in exchange for their email. This way, you add potential customers to your database as well.
On your e-commerce store, you could market more products to customers who are currently on your website. You could do this by suggesting products related to what the customer searched for or currently has in their shopping cart.
You could also try out pay-per-click (PPC) ads, which you only have to pay for if someone clicks on your ad through a search engine. Social media is also a great way to communicate directly with customers while showing them your latest products.
Build an SEO Strategy
You can also build an SEO strategy to get your e-commerce shop to the top of search engines. This way, a customer doesn’t need to walk by your shop to discover you.
SEO also helps you get more customers as they are looking to solve a specific problem when they use search engines.
Category pages are a great way to incorporate SEO into your marketing strategy. For instance, you may be an apparel company and you want to include a category page for hoodies.
You then want to write quality blog posts about hoodies that would be helpful to your audience. These could include tips for how to wear a hoodie, how to choose a hoodie colour, or trending hoodie styles for the year. Make sure to include a link back to your e-commerce store.
By using keywords that you can rank for, more people will find your blog posts online. When they find your content useful, they are more likely to click on your e-commerce store and buy a product from you.
This applies to new customers and existing customers, who are more likely to continue supporting your business because they get so much value from you.
3. It Diversifies Your Income Streams
During the pandemic, many businesses all over the world were hard-hit by the lockdowns. This is especially true for brick-and-mortar stores.
Having an e-commerce store helps you diversify your income streams so that you’re not dependent on only one of them. This isn’t only the case for future pandemics, but any other factors that are out of your control.
For example, if you run a brick-and-mortar furniture store in your local neighbourhood, shipping delays from manufacturers could mean you don’t have enough stock. Your store can only hold so much furniture, and when you run out, you run out.
But if you had a warehouse for your e-commerce store, you’d have more stock on hand if something went wrong with shipping or manufacturing.
Other factors out of your control include rent increases, local economic crashes, product recalls, or staff shortages.
When you have diversified income, you don’t rely on only one source of revenue. That way, if something jeopardizes your income stream out of the blue, you have other income streams to fall back on.
E-commerce also allows you to create an income stream that operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This helps you increase sales because you can make money even outside of your regular hours of operation.
Another reason this strategy diversifies your income is that you may have local customers who don’t want to make the commute to your store or don’t have the time to browse.
Instead, they power on their computer and buy through your online store. The product is then shipped to their door, making for an easy, hassle-free process.
With today’s busy, on-the-go culture, you need to make sure that buying from you is as quick and simple as possible.
By selling 24/7 through e-commerce, you let your customers buy when it’s convenient for them, which gives you revenue from customers who wouldn’t have had time to shop from you otherwise.
4. It Lowers Your Operating Costs
As of 2020, Australian landlords have been increasing rent by 4% per year. This number is well above the yearly sales growth for most businesses.
Selling products online allows you to grow your business while reducing overhead costs. If your e-commerce store starts making good money, then you may want to scale back your brick-and-mortar store by moving to a smaller, cheaper location.
In fact, your sales might be so good that you may even consider doing business only online.
If you end up changing your business strategy or haven’t started your business yet, you might want to consider doing business online to start.
When you lower your operating costs, you have more money to spend on marketing, research, and strategies for growing your business.
E-commerce poses less business risk because you don’t need to invest as many start-up costs, like hiring sales staff, buying equipment, and paying for rent and utilities.
This way, you can test out what products sell, what products don’t sell, and see if you can get any new ideas from your customers. With the lower startup costs of e-commerce, you won’t lose as much money as you would with a brick-and-mortar store if things don’t pan out.
If sales go well, you could look into getting a brick-and-mortar location later on.
5. It Allows You To Scale
A brick-and-mortar store limits your business to people in your neighbourhood or those willing to drive to your store.
But when you have an e-commerce store, as long as you have inventory, you can ship your products almost anywhere.
Scaling doesn’t just refer to where you sell. When you scale online, you can also make it easier for your customers to pay for your products.
When you have a brick-and-mortar store, you’re limited to the usual payment options: credit card, debit card, and cash.
But e-commerce allows you to give customers more payment options, such as PayPal, Apple Pay, and credit cards other than Visa.
Give Great Customer Service
Even though an e-commerce store doesn’t provide in-person customer service like a salesperson in a shop would, it actually gives you the opportunity to give even better customer service.
While a salesperson can only help one person at a time, e-commerce customers can send emails or look at FAQs for help.
Another great option is to offer a live help chat, where a customer representative can answer questions in real-time.
E-commerce also lets you predict when you might need to anticipate higher demand for customer service. This could be during a seasonal rush such as Christmas, or if you get many emails or bad reviews about a recurring problem with one of your products.
By predicting when you’ll need to increase your customer service, you can hire extra, temporary staff and meet the needs of your customers in a timely and efficient manner.
And when you give great customer service, you build trust with your customers, who will want to keep coming back again and again.
Scaling your business also lets you expand globally at a lower budget than it would cost to open new store locations or franchises.
To go global, you only need to have one e-commerce store. Then, you need to figure out how you will ship to different countries. This means looking into shipping companies, tax laws, and being able to give customers clear shipping information.
You might also want to consider giving free shipping to customers who spend over a certain amount of money. This is a convenient option for customers who live far away and who would otherwise have to pay large shipping and duty fees every time they order from you.
Of course, when you expand your shipping capabilities locally, you will probably need to get the help of website developers. This is because your website will have to be updated for location.
Customers will need to have the option of switching between languages and currencies. A website developer may need to help you geo-target your website, as well as help you if you need to have more than one version of your website.
Ready To Grow Your Business With an E-Commerce Website?
E-commerce lets you expand your business, analyze your customers’ needs and wants, and maximize your revenue while decreasing costs.
If you already have a business or have a business idea that you want to test out, then e-commerce might be the next logical step for you.
If you still have questions about setting up your e-commerce website, then a professional digital agency can help. At EB Pearls, we are leaders in Australian web development and are determined to deliver top-quality, innovative solutions.
Contact us today and let our friendly team of Shopify experts help you take your business to the next level.