Be There or Be Square: Why Small Business Needs E-commerce
Are you sick of it, hearing about how e-commerce is the future? Well, here's the good news, it's not!
Here's the bad news: E-commerce is the present. It's the here and now.
If you are not engaged in e-commerce, you are already behind the times. Not being online and doing business is not something you can do later. It is something you need to do now, but don't take our word for it. Here is information from this Christmas:
Reuters reported on December 26, 2012: “The 2012 holiday season may have been the worst for retailers since the 2008 financial crisis, with sales growth far below expectations, forcing many to offer massive post-Christmas discounts in hopes of shedding excess inventory.”
But the report does highlight one more important point: “One bright spot has been online sales, which continue to grow at a faster pace. On Christmas Day, online sales jumped 22.4 percent, outpacing the 16.4 percent increase in 2011, according to IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark, which tracks more than 1 million e-commerce transactions a day from 500 U.S. Retailers.”
That seems like a simple picture. Sales online are the only portion of retail that is growing. If you aren't part of that, then you are part of the group that's losing. Barnes & Noble is closing stores. Dozens of companies are showing shrinking profits. But the online retail community is thriving.
So how to get involved:
1. Get a reliable host
- Make sure that whatever host you use, your website will be there when your customers are. You need a host that is as reliable for your customers as you are.
2. Make checkout easy
- Nothing is more frustrating than searching for everything you want then not being able to buy it. Never leave your customers begging, “Please take my money.”
3. Check your prices
- You are competing on a worldwide scale. Make sure that your prices are competitive. (Note: Sometimes you can beat their price. Then beat them in other ways: offer longer warranties, a great return policy, a setup service, free customer service.) As part of that, think in terms of value, instead of simply cost. Your personalized service gives you the “value advantage.”
Get online and get out there. Don't wait. This is a train that is accelerating and you need to be on it.