The skyrocketing growth of e-commerce over the past few years is undeniable yet astonishing. From digital media and electronics to furniture to the fashion and beauty industry, people make all types of purchases online, especially using their smartphones. With the trend of online shopping catching fire, e-commerce businesses are progressively shelling out their advertising budgets online rather than on traditional advertisements like billboards and broadcasting. The largest portion of e-commerce businesses reveals that they have already started shaking hands with digital marketing agencies to expand their online presence and improve market value.
Is E-Commerce Overtaking Traditional Retail For Good?
The question of whether e-commerce will overtake traditional retail has been debated since the Internet became a viable marketplace. It’s also an extremely important question to consider as every business owner tries to figure out how to stay competitive in today’s market. The answer is that traditional retail is here to stay, but it will be forced to adapt and evolve.
Retail has always been the backbone of consumerism, with brick and mortar establishments standing at the center of most shopping experiences. The shift toward online shopping has changed much about the retail sector. A report published in 2017 by Nasdaq, a renowned multinational financial services corporation, predicted that e-stores will enable and facilitate up to 95 percent of merchandise and purchases by the end of 2022. The numbers certainly seem to suggest that some big changes could be on the horizon. However, at the same time, it certainly does not mean that e-commerce has won over traditional retail, but instead shows that online retailers can no longer be ignored.
Why Are People Preferring E-Commerce over Traditional Shopping?
The online channel has been growing steadily for years and is now a viable channel for any retailer. In fact, more than half of consumers prefer shopping online more rather than visiting a physical store. Here are five top reasons why online shopping is becoming so popular with consumers:
- E-Commerce is Convenient
The convenience of shopping online is perhaps one of the key factors behind this increase in popularity. With the use of search engines like Google and Amazon, shoppers can find anything they want at any time of day. As a matter of fact, over 63 percent of online shoppers have purchased a product on impulse – just because they saw it and wanted it! Shoppers can take their time browsing for products as well as read reviews from other consumers to ensure that they are purchasing the best product for them.
- 24/7 Availability and Accessibility
E-commerce allows consumers to shop from the comfort of their own homes and make purchases without having to step out or go anywhere. That means there is no scope for waiting in a long queue at checkout in the store during peak hours or holidays. In addition, they don’t have to deal with the hassles of driving around and finding a space for parking.
- Price Comparisons
When people buy products from a retail store, it is unlikely that they will get the best price for that particular product. That’s because the retailer knows that you don’t have many alternatives available to make your purchase. Online shopping, on the other hand, enables the shopper to compare a product from different sellers and find goods with the lowest prices.
Many states charge additional sales tax when people purchase items in a brick-and-mortar store. But if they make your purchase online, they won’t have to worry about paying extra fees when their package arrives. With e-commerce, online consumers can not only find the best deals that can’t be beaten but also can take advantage of free shipping offers.
- Faster Delivery & Transparency
Online stores offer speedy delivery of products as they deliver them directly from warehouses. In addition, they can check out the status of their order at each step and how it is being processed from their smartphone, laptop, or tablet.
Advantages of E-Commerce over Traditional retail for Businesses
- Low overhead costs
The overhead expenses of an e-commerce store are significantly lower as compared to a brick-and-mortar store. That’s because online retailers do not have to pay for storefront rent, utilities, logistics, and any other operating costs. These substantial savings can be used to offset the cost of the hired digital marketing company and online advertising & promotional efforts necessary to compete in e-commerce and survive in the long run.
- Easy monitoring of inventory
An e-commerce website offers easy management of inventory as compared to traditional retail stores where it is very difficult to keep track of them. With e-commerce, you only need to keep a single inventory of all the products you have for sale, rather than the multiple inventories required by brick-and-mortar stores. As a result, it’s easier to maintain an accurate count of your remaining inventory and how long it will last. Given that, you no longer have to worry about out-of-stock situations that require restocking from another warehouse or even another country! In addition, if the product is digital, such as an e-book or audio podcast, there is no need of handling an inventory at all.
- Widen Audiences & International Markets
Since the internet is not limited by your potential customers’ location and other boundaries, you can open the door of your e-commerce store to foreign markets. The only requirement is that they should speak your language, but even that can be handled through translation services. If done correctly, you can make your products available at the international level and bring in more buyers and thereby, increasing your sales and profit margins.
As an online business, you wouldn’t need to worry about creating foot traffic or paying for expensive traditional advertising campaigns to get people into your store. Instead, you can pour resources into increasing your brand’s online awareness and reputation, helping you get a bigger piece of the e-commerce pie and attracting new potential customers. Hiring a professional digital marketing agency will help you extend beyond your local community and expand your business globally without worrying about different language or currency issues. It eliminates the need for warehouses, sales teams, and other physical infrastructure.
- 24*7 Customer Support & Assistance
Since you are dealing with all the customers online through your website, you can certainly count on AI-based chatbots to provide your customers with around-the-clock support. A web design agency can help you develop a cross-platform, responsive website with live chat functionality to facilitate real-time interactions and 24/7 support without any hassle or extra cost. A chat session can be initiated at any time of the day, and it can be done through any device with an internet connection that the customer may use. In addition, if you provide an immediate response to your potential customers’ queries and concerns, they are more likely to purchase from your business.
- Reduced Customer Acquisition Costs
The largest barrier to entry in most industries is getting your product in front of people, generating a buzz, and getting them to buy it. While customer acquisition costs remain the top challenge for e-commerce businesses, they are also the biggest opportunity that exists. A skilled digital marketing and SEO agency can help you reduce the cost of acquisition through effective customer targeting and online advertising techniques. In this manner, you can compete against larger businesses that have both more resources and higher customer acquisition costs.
- Simplified Promotion of Featured Products
Keep in mind, your potential customers are always looking for something to buy. That’s why you need to make it easier for them to find the products you want them to buy. Your digital marketing agency can help you lure targeted customers to your app or website and compel them to take action by placing featured products on your e-store. The reason behind this is both psychological and materialistic. When it comes to discounts or a free product, people automatically get suckered into making a purchase. One of the best approaches to promote your featured products, such as new releases and specials, is to use the countdown time. By setting a timer on your products, you can create a sense of urgency and market your items effectively. Doing so will increase your organic traffic and optimize the customer experience for more conversions.
- Better Scalability
Your e-commerce store can be easily expanded or scaled up if you want more business. Just hire a professional digital marketing agency to tailor your products to your e-store goals and build a holistic online advertising strategy
- A Great Control of Prices & Deals
Once you’ve set your prices, deals, and product descriptions on your website or app, you can change them as frequently as you like – hours later, days later, or even weeks later. The best bit is, this can be achieved without incurring additional printing costs or the expense of sending updated catalogs through the mail.
You can offer special promotions and exclusive deals through your store to attract people’s attention to your products. The offer might be free shipping or a percentage of discount, but ensure that that it makes sense to customers. For instance, your targeted consumers won’t want to pay extra for free shipping if they can get it cheaper somewhere else. Additionally, you can offer hefty discounts or bulk deals on products purchased in large quantities. A digital marketing agency can also help you create a personalized coupon code based on the customer’s name or some other information they provide (like their email address). When they use that code during checkout, they’ll receive a special discount or bonus offer. Not only is it an excellent way to provide great value for customers but also boosts your sales and conversion rates.
The concept of online shopping is not new but the fact that it has been embraced by consumers around the globe at an extremely fast pace is. In the early years, it was limited to the realm of computer geeks and tech-savvy folks. But in recent years, online shopping has become a mainstream phenomenon. One thing you must remember is that e-commerce is not only beneficial for both customers and merchants but traditional retail as well. As e-commerce continues to gain momentum, traditional retailers need to step up their game and invest in digital marketing and web design companies to build online brand awareness and customer base.