In order to succeed online, a small business must understand why people shop for products and services online. The new numbers just released by comScore indicates that online shopping has rebounded with a 10% growth in sales for the first quarter yet many offline businesses are still suffering.
For a small business to take advantage of this growth, you firstly must be online. That is just common sense. Secondly, you must understand why people shop online in the first place. By understanding the motivation behind ecommerce purchasing, you can ensure your small business website fits the buyer's needs.
When it comes to shopping online, there are two main motivators:
Let's take a look at those factors.
People shop online because they like the idea of being able to purchase products on their own time schedule. They can shop early mornings or late at night from the comforts of their own home or, these days, on the go via mobile devices. Online stores are open 24/7.
They also like the fact that they do not have to face traffic or lineups when buying online. This is particularly true during the busy holiday season. They can do all of their purchasing at their leisure and the postman will deliver it to their door. No hassles, no frustration.
Shoppers also know that they can find exactly what they are looking for online. They do not have to hop in their cars and go from store to store until they find the items they want. It is all available to them on their computers.
There is the perception that if people shop online, they will get the best possible price for the products they are searching for. Comparison shopping is very easy online. All they have to do is visit a few websites to know which one offers the best deals. This is much simpler than visiting a variety of shops offline.
People want to know they are paying a fair price for merchandise. Most often, the customer always wants to feel like they have "won" in their bid to get the best value for the dollar. By purchasing online, it is very easy for them to assess their savings.
What Does This Mean For The Small Business Owner?
By understanding the reasons a person may have for shopping online, you can then appeal to those reasons on your website. Play up the fact that they do not have to fight traffic to buy from you. You might even post your competitor's pricing on your site to demonstrate to them that you have the lowest price for the goods.
Make it easy for your customers to find what they are looking for on your website. Consider offering free shipping or delivery as an incentive to close the sale. Since selling online carries less operating costs for the small business owner, why not pass that savings along to the online shopper?
What it all boils down to is the fact that if you do not have your products or services available online you are going to miss out on a great deal of sales from people who are too busy or too frustrated to physically visit your business location. You must not only be online, you must make sure your potential customers can find your website. Once you have that mastered, you can sit back and watch the orders come in.