According to the U.S. Cross-Channel Retail Forecast, online sales are expected to grow to $523 billion in 2020, a huge increase from 2015, which saw online sales of $335 billion. As online sales continue to increase, it becomes imperative for traditional brick and mortar stores to take advantage of this sales avenue and prepare for this increase of sales now instead of later. Further, as E-Commerce sales grow so do M-Commerce sales (mobile online sales), reaching around $100 billion per year. So why do you need to invest now?
Low Maintenance and Startup Costs
Business owners with a physical store understand the massive costs associated with land, construction, permits, supply chain, fixed monthly costs, etc. However, having an established supply chain and preferred manufacturers cut startup costs when building an E-commerce website, consolidating costs into development and design, monthly maintenance and hosting services, and shipping.
Increase Brand Awareness and Reach New Customers
An online store increases your visibility to both return customers and to new customers, keeping you top of mind and increasing potential sales. The most important concern to put to rest is “an online store will decrease the amount of traffic and revenue at my offline store.” An E-commerce store provides a convenient shopping outlet for customers, allowing them to read product reviews, check in-store availability, compare products and make a purchase decision whether they are in-store, at home or on the go. However, customers still enjoy the shopping experience and the personal interaction and satisfaction they get when purchasing a product, i.e. touch, feel, smell, taste. Together the online and offline world provides a user experience that is absent through one sales channel, encouraging customer interaction through combined marketing promotions, i.e. in-store signs promoting the online store and the online store encouraging an in-store visit.
An Online Store is a Competitive Necessity
To continue to grow and compete with other businesses, brick and mortar businesses need to expand into the online world. Without an E-commerce store, businesses hinder their ability to grow nationally, increase profits and interact with customers. In addition, with big businesses such as Amazon, dominating the online world, and Wal-Mart, a global organization both offline and online, small and medium sized businesses must learn to offer unique services to their customer base.