During the coronavirus lockdown in 2020 we saw all businesses close for several months and many never reopened. In that period, the interest in e-commerce and how to bring a business online reached records, an indication of how the desire to do business cannot be stopped by a lowered shutter.
Many online stores were opened during the lockdown and an increase in online shopping practices was recorded; the good news is that the positive trend continues today and it is not destined to stop.
On the one hand, there is more and more confidence on the part of US customers in buying online and the lockdown was a decisive test. On the other hand, merchants have well understood the need to have a solid online presence, which allows the expansion of their business.
If you are still not convinced to follow in the footsteps of all the merchants who have already started building their e-commerce, we give you 6 good reasons why you should have an online store.
The numbers speak for themselves
According to the estimates of Digital Commerce 360, consumers spent $ 861.12 billion online with U.S. merchants in 2020, up an incredible 44.0% year over year. That’s the highest annual U.S. ecommerce growth in at least two decades. It’s also nearly triple the 15.1% jump in 2019.
Online’s share of total retail sales has steadily been on the rise, with ecommerce penetration hitting 21.3% in 2020 (Digital Commerce 360): it represents an increase of more than 5% compared to 2018 and 2019 and it is by far the biggest year-over-year jump for U.S. retail sales ever recorded. No other year has even reached a two percentage-point gain in digital penetration.
COVID-19-related boosts in online shopping resulted in an additional $ 174.87 billion in ecommerce revenue in 2020, Digital Commerce 360 estimates. If it weren’t for the bump in online sales from the pandemic, the $ 861.12 billion in ecommerce sales wouldn’t have been reached until 2022.
We hope that a bad situation like the one we experienced during the coronavirus lockdown in 2020 will never happen again. However, we could not fail to consider that when all the traditional shops were closed, the only merchants to continue their business were those who were already equipped with e-commerce or who opened it at that time. In an online shop, there are no shutters to close.
Costs of an e-commerce site
Unlike a physical store, an online store does not require rental and maintenance costs such as electricity, gas, water and waste. It also doesn’t need a lot of staff but can be managed independently. The only costs related to e-commerce concern the platform development, if you turn to third parties, and the annual hosting payment which can vary from 100 to 500 $ per year.
With Vetrina Live these costs are further reduced: you can concentrate only on creating your online store and on selling your products, in complete autonomy, with a cost that starts at only € 14.90 per month (to learn more about how much it costs to create an e-commerce, also read “How to create an e-commerce in a simple way and without any experience“). The barrier to access is practically nil.
Open 24 hours a day
It may seem trivial as a concept but it is exactly the opposite. Life can be really hectic and it often becomes difficult for people to find the time to go to a store, evaluate, try and buy a product. And a waste of time always generates a negative shopping experience that can also compromise future purchases.
An online store allows access even at times of the day when the physical stores are closed and gives customers the opportunity to consult our product catalogue in complete calm and search for what they need.
Whether the purchase is then finalized online or in the physical store is of little importance, because what the customers will appreciate is having a positive shopping experience, the ability to find what they are looking for through the channels they prefer.
We refer again to changing consumption habits and new customer expectations. According to a Salesforce research, in fact: “Whether customers shop for themselves or on behalf of their companies, they expect interactions with brands to not only be convenient and digital first, but also infused with empathy and understanding. To no surprise, our survey results show customers want organizations to relate to their specific needs and expectations at every touch point. And they are making purchasing decisions based on personalized experiences”.
Customer expansion and loyalty
Unlike a physical one, an online store does not actually have tangible geographical boundaries that limit customers to local or passing customers. If exploited properly, e-commerce can bring your local business throughout the country and go even further.
In addition to the possibility of expanding your clientele, having an e-commerce store also brings benefits to the physical store because it strengthens the position of the brand and affirms it digitally.
Opening an online store is like opening a new store without incurring new rental costs and taxes and your customers will have the opportunity to discover your products and services from the place they prefer.
Direct sales, without intermediaries
With an e-commerce the length of the chain to the consumer can be drastically reduced.
For example, if you are a craftsman and you know that opening a physical store implies high costs, you can sell your creations through an online store directly to the public, without having to go through distributors or intermediaries. In this way the margins will also be higher.
To get started, just choose the right platform on which to create your e-commerce site. To do this, we recommend that you evaluate:
- General cost of the platform: how much does it cost per month? Does it have additional costs for integrations or other tools you need?
- Commissions: many platforms, in addition to the monthly or annual fee, take a percentage of sales that usually varies from 1% to 3%.
- Is it simple to use? Need some code work from a developer or graphic designer?
- Does it have dedicated support?
Now that we have shown to you 6 good reasons to have an online store, you surely understood that creating an e-commerce can bring multiple benefits to your business, both in terms of customer expansion and digitally strengthening the brand.
Furthermore, the positive trend and the change in consumption habits, combined with lower costs through platforms such as Vetrina Live, make the creation of e-commerce an opportunity to be seized on the fly.
In one year or two, when all your competitors understand they have to create e-commerce, you will have already made your brand stronger and gained experience to fight back.