E-commerce has become an integral element of the global retail system in recent years. Like many other businesses, the retail sector has changed dramatically since the start of the internet, and increased internet access throughout the world means the number of digital buyers grows with each passing year. Because of the growing digitization of modern life, consumers from nearly every country now benefit from the advantages of online shopping. For this blog post, we’re going to look at the importance of eCommerce as it relates to your small business, what consumers expect from an online shopping experience, and how integrating eCommerce into your business can be easier than you might think. Let’s take a look!
What is the “Amazon Effect”?
According to Statista, more than two billion people bought goods or services online in 2020, with global eCommerce sales surpassing 4.2 trillion U.S. dollars worldwide.
There’s no shortage of digital platforms available for consumers to explore, compare, and purchase products or services, but one online marketplace takes the cake: Amazon. This e-commerce goliath led the global ranking of digital retail websites in online traffic in 2020, registering over 5.2 billion unique visitors in June of 2020 alone. Amazon’s vast selection of products, convenient shopping and shipping options, and fair pricing are the primary value-adds attracting consumers by the droves. As a result, retail purchasers are being pulled away from physical, brick-and-mortar locations and funneled towards digital commerce instead. According to a WWD report, this change has led to a 53% increase in brick-and-mortar store closures, surpassing the shutdowns seen in the wake of the 2008 Great Recession. As such, this phenomenon has earned the term the “Amazon effect.”
What You Need to Know:– The “Amazon Effect” describes the disruption of the traditional brick-and-mortar retail framework by digital marketplace giants such as Amazon.
– This phenomenon has impacted consumer expectations across the board. Consumers now expect variety, convenience, timely response, and a seamless shopping experience from start to finish, even for services that cannot be offered in a digital setting.
– Selling even just a few of your products online may be easier than you think with a user-friendly eCommerce platform like Shopify.
What Consumers Want When Shopping Online
Alongside decreasing revenue for traditional retail stores, the Amazon effect plays a heavy hand in changing what consumers want from their shopping experiences and how they expect to get it. Digital marketplaces like Amazon have raised the bar for retailers both online and in-person. Consumers now expect a convenient and seamless shopping experience from start to finish—whether your offerings can be sold online or not. Digital retailers should incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) and big data to monitor consumer behaviors and provide customized offers. Chatbots or human text messaging capabilities should be programmed into your website so that customers can reach out with questions while navigating through your products online. Product availability should be clearly stated, and free or multiple shipping options should be made available. Essentially— the more convenience your website offers, the more likely consumers will complete a purchase.
Online Consumers Want:
- Fair pricing
- Smart shopping
- Online booking capabilities
- Custom offers
- Free/multiple shipping options
Advice for In-person Service Providers
For owners whose businesses offer in-person services only, it’s up to you to ensure your business doesn’t get left behind in the digital commerce revolution. Companies that only offer services in-person, such as spa services, transportation, medical and dental, etc., are expected to run smoothly and save consumers their most precious resource: time. Additionally, consumers will be relying more and more heavily on digital business components such as online booking capabilities, business reviews, and client testimonials. So, it’s up to you to keep up!
In-person checkout lines should be short or non-existent, online ordering with curbside pickup should be available whenever possible, and incentives like in-store-only promotions should be offered and communicated online via your website, social media accounts, digital advertisements, etc.
In-Person Consumers Want:
- Smooth, seamless shopping experiences
- Online booking
- Business reviews
- Client testimonials
- Quick and easy checkout
- Curbside pickup
- In-store promotions
- Digital communication
Putting Your Products Online Can Be as Easy as 1, 2, 3!
Even if you don’t want to sell your products online, adding high-quality, interactive visuals of your products to your website can do more for your business than you might think— and it doesn’t have to break your budget! Simply adding imagery or 360-degree videos with product names and descriptions both bolsters your SEO rankings and gets shoppers excited to visit your store in real life.
What’s more, going eCommerce can be easier than ever imagined, especially when working with experienced professionals who possess a range of knowledge on ways to spotlight your products online. Our advice? Get started with e-commerce using one of the most popular platforms for online shop building: Shopify. Learn how this user-friendly platform can have you adding products to your website like a pro in no time at all!