Retail businesses are one of the most prominent business models, but many retail businesses, particularly small businesses, can struggle to succeed. One of the ways that retail businesses have seen increased market share and greater business success is through the rise of eCommerce and internet sales. Ecommerce has huge benefits for retailers and customers alike.
Since the late 1990s, internet shopping has changed the landscape of consumer experiences and more and more businesses are creating advanced eCommerce experiences to earn and keep more customers business.
The history of eCommerce sales
According to Ecommerce-Land, “ Ecommerce became possible in 1991 when the Internet was opened to commercial use. Since that date, thousands of businesses have taken up residence at web sites…Although the Internet began to advance in popularity among the general public in 1994, it took approximately four years to develop the security protocols (for example, HTTP) and DSL which allowed rapid access and a persistent connection to the Internet. In 2000 a great number of business companies in the United States and Western Europe represented their services in the World Wide Web. At this time the meaning of the word eCommerce was changed. People began to define the term eCommerce as the process of purchasing of available goods and services over the Internet using secure connections and electronic payment services. Although the dot-com collapse in 2000 led to unfortunate results and many of eCommerce companies disappeared, the “brick and mortar” retailers recognized the advantages of electronic commerce and began to add such capabilities to their web sites.”
Many businesses owners owe their success to the rise of eCommerce and internet technology.
The biggest benefits of eCommerce in retail
1. 24/7 access
The internet never closes. Your customers don’t have to be limited by the hours that your retail location is open. Ecommerce in retail allows businesses better flexibility of being able to offer products and services to their customers on the schedule that works best for them.
2. Increased revenue
Your e-commerce presence serves as an additional storefront, giving you increased opportunity for revenue and sales. Online stores also offer your organization the chance to offer web-only products and exclusive deals that customers can’t get in stores. That means that even customers who do visit your physical location will be incentivized to shop online as well, giving you a greater opportunity for sales and revenue growth.
3. Greater brand awareness
The internet landscape can give your brand greater visibility. In some cases, e-commerce only businesses, including Amazon, have grown so substantially that they found it brand-smart to create physical locations to highlight the best of their products and features. The eCommerce experience gives your brand a ton of potential real estate – people are much more likely to find you on an online search or through another eCommerce vendor than randomly driving by your space.
4. Expanded market
ECommerce in retail gives businesses access to just about the whole global market – even small businesses, like Etsy shops, have the ability to send their products worldwide. Location doesn’t have to limit your business with eCommerce in retail.
ECommerce sites like Amazon give recommendations to customers based on their previous purchases and search history. This creates a customer experience that’s more personalized to their likes, dislikes, and other habits, making it less generic experience than many people have in stores.
6. Convenience and flexibility
One of the biggest benefits of e-commerce in retail is an experience that centers around the customer. Maybe times, retail locations are limited by their space for fixtures or inventory. An eCommerce experience allows for brands to offer their customers the ability to shop at their leisure, in the comfort of their own home or office. This means that people who are unable to travel, who have varying schedules, or who simply want to more time to peruse their options can take their time and enjoy the convenience of a digital experience. It also offers better flexibility in terms of payment – online retailers, for instance, have the ability to offer payment through PayPal and other finance options.
7. Easily scalable
If you have a physical retail location, you are limited to the confines of that space for as long as your lease term. If you experience a lot of growth, parts of your business may suffer because of these limitations. ECommerce in retail allows businesses to grow without fear of outgrowing a space and it allows businesses to scale as needed.
8. Decreased costs
If you’re online-only retailer, you don’t have to contend with the costs of physical space, staff, and more. While there is still the likely cost of warehousing and shipping product, most businesses find that they save significantly when they use the mode of eCommerce in retail. Brands also find that advertising for their online presence is cheaper than traditional methods that physical retail has used, such as direct mail, billboards, magazine ads, and more.
Ecommerce has long been a driver of business, sales, and revenue. It’s become such a central part to the customer experience that retail businesses that might not otherwise exist, such as niche organizations, can thrive. Start-ups, creators, and other entrepreneurs can more easily start and run a business successfully due to eCommerce.