Setting Up Shop: E-Commerce on the Rise
It’s hard to believe just how tech-driven our world has become. You can order your weekly groceries online, have your dry-cleaning picked up through an app, face-time with a doctor, even virtually view how Ikea furniture will look in your living room using augmented reality. While we all use technology in different capacities, there’s no denying the paramount benefits that e-commerce provides in the shopping experience. With products, reviews, testimonials, and a bevy of options, you have all the answers required to make an informed purchase right at your fingertips.
While offline sales are still the dominating force in commerce activity, shopping patterns have met their tipping point. 51% of Americans now prefer e-commerce over brick & mortar stores, and that figure is expected to rise at a significant rate. Researchers calculated a 15% growth in online shopping between 2016 and 2017, with offline stores experiencing just a 4.5% increase. While we may all enjoy a good window shopping session on the weekend, we are turning more and more to the seemingly limitless options that come via our gateway to the world wide web.
Shop 24/7 - What’s better than a late night of online perusing with a glass of wine in hand at the end of the day? Being able to shop at your own convenience is a significant motivator that produces more than $294 billion in annual online sales. With this figure expected to increase to $414 billion by 2018, the ability to shop at our own leisure is clearly resonating with consumers.
Compare prices - Consumers are becoming increasingly savvy. We know that if we slap a few search terms into the system, we can cross-check any product of interest before making a purchase. For consumers who shop at brick & mortar stores, 2/3 will check their phones to compare prices before following through with a purchase. With e-commerce stores requiring less overhead to set up shop, chances are you’ll find the most competitive price in cyberspace.
Sales & Promos - Flash sales, coupons, and promo codes galore, the internet is your oyster when seeking a great deal. With online retailers offering great incentives for new shoppers and return shoppers alike, consumers are increasingly motivated to explore those aggressively enticing offers.
Saving Time/Convenience - For me, hitting the shops usually means sitting in hours of Los Angeles rush hour traffic. Nightmarish. I’m sure many of you share the struggle of the daily grind that leaves you thinking “there just aren’t enough hours in the day”. As a mother, wife, and passionate CEO, work-life balance is hard enough to master without adding all those extra errands to my to-do list!
Greater variety - Unlike branded stores or curated shops, the internet gives you access to a myriad of products, many of which are only available online. This gives you the ability to mix and match from a wealth of designers, brands, collections, and beyond.
See/Touch Product - Ability to see, feel, and try out the item of interest is an obvious bonus when shopping in a physical store - especially with so many online conglomerates hosting a massive assortment of products in their catalogs that don’t seem to live up to the product description.
Tying on Product - Studies have shown that the biggest motivator for women is to ensure articles of clothing have the proper fit, while for men the biggest incentive is the immediate gratification that comes with picking up a product and being able to use it immediately.
Shipping & Delivery - Shipping cost and delivery time are also dominating factors that prevent consumers from shopping online. Some particularly heavy or more valuable products can be difficult to attain without shelling out some major paper for the journey from warehouse to home.
For many ‘e-tailers’, offering free shipping on some or all orders can remedy the consumer woes and decrease cart abandonment. Delivering product in a timely fashion can yield great reviews from satisfied customers, which then contributes to your positive reputation for quick turnover of orders and convert weary customers into e-commerce enthusiasts. Including authentic product photos (easy on the airbrushing!) with in-depth, accurate product and size details is essential to illustrate the product and bring it to life. If you can include videos in product pages, even better!
Brick & Mortar stores can learn from online tactics by extending hours, using online platforms to promote sales, and utilizing their physical storefront to their advantage by hosting events, classes, and hands-on seminars to allure new consumers into their digs. Be sure to stay in the know as to the online price point of products you have in store, and gain a competitive edge by supplying valuable products that consumers prefer to view and purchase in person.
To learn more about how I landed in the e-commerce field, read Birth of the Business: How I Altered the Course of my Career.
From my parenthood to yours,
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