I recently drove by my favorite local sports store only to see it hosting a closeout sale. The reason? It couldn’t compete with online vendors.
While it’s sad to see stores go out of business, this trend speaks to a significant change in the industry — e-commerce is dominating the retail space. Today 71 percent of shoppers believe they will get a better deal online than in brick-and-mortar stores, and the total sales value of e-commerce retailers is expected to reach $414 billion by 2018.
The fact is, if you own a small business, you need an e-commerce website. Not convinced? Here are some of the ways an e-commerce site can grow your business.
It will help you understand customer behavior.
Did you know that 68 percent of online shoppers abandon their carts before making a purchase? Interestingly enough, nobody really knows how many people decide not to purchase when they enter a physical store.
The luxury of having an online store is twofold. First, you can collect data that will give you insights into problems (for instance, the customers who are abandoning their carts).
Second, you can use a WordPress plugin like Abandoned Cart Lite for WooCommerce that will email your customer reminding them that they were about to buy your product or sending them an additional incentive. Using a tool like this can help businesses recover 30 percent of lost sales.
It will allow you to advertise more effectively.
Google is currently hosting 1 trillion searches a day. With each of these searches, e-commerce stores have the opportunity to run a targeted pay-per-click (PPC) ad that reaches prospective customers directly.
PPC is a form of advertising where you can ensure your website will be placed at the top of the search engine results page. The best part is you only have to pay for your ad when someone actually clicks on it. If you are in need of quick and targeted exposure, PPC is the perfect option. To learn more, watch this PPC video tutorial:
There are several other effective ways to advertise online promotions to your customers including content marketing, social media, email marketing, and more. Simply put, when your store exists online, your advertising opportunities grow significantly.
It will help you grow your customer base.
Another benefit of having an e-commerce site is it expands your customer base; people who never would have wandered into your physical location can easily find your store online.
When someone conducts a targeted keyword search that matches your products and services, your website will be listed in the organic results, giving prospective customers an opportunity to click through to your website. The higher you are in the search results, the more likely someone is to click on your website.
The process of getting your website listed higher in the search engine results is called search engine optimization (SEO). This video primer will get you started:
There are many different strategies to help with SEO, but one of the most effective ways to optimize your content is with the help of a plugin like Yoast SEO. Yoast will analyze the content you post on your WordPress site and give you tips on how you can make it more readable for search engines.
There are only advantages to selling your products online in addition to keeping your retail store up and running. Having an e-commerce site allows you to collect new leads, advertise, and find new customers online. Not to mention, when your store is online, you allow your customers to shop how, where, and when they want. It just makes sense.