When you consider the advantages of establishing an online presence for your business, one of the first benefits that may come to mind is the “wow” or “coolness” factor. No doubt, jumping into the ecommerce pool is slick and tech-savvy, but there are a number of real-world benefits to doing so. Once you have taken the time to set up a website that is attractive, easy to navigate, and that deftly highlights the amazing products you have to offer, you’ll no doubt discover the many gifts your website can offer your company, your customers, and your bottom line.
If you run one or two brick-and-mortar retail stores, you can certainly appeal to walk-in traffic in the neighborhoods they serve. However, in a very real way, you are constrained by geography. By contrast, your ecommerce website gives you a way to sell to customers not just around the corner, but around the world. Once you learn about accepting payments online and optimize your site to accept specific global currencies, the sky is truly the limit.
Make money while you sleep.
Running your physical store involves you or other personnel being available from before your doors open in the morning until long after they close in the evening. However, your website makes it possible for people to browse through your product selections, choose what they want, add it to their shopping cart and pay — all without you needing to be there. Even so, you can also use automated chat software and email messages to remain in touch with buyers before, during, and after the payment has been processed. That way you can make sure that no question goes unanswered. A good ecommerce site should enable you to walk away from your business for a few hours, only to return to find that you have gained another happy customer.
Engender trust in your company.
Taking the time to design, construct, and maintain a great website gives you a place to showcase your products and services while also performing a more subtle but equally important function. When you were in the process of drawing up your business plan, you probably spent a good deal of energy coming up with your brand, including color scheme, logo, messaging, and more. Now that you have a website, you have a perfect opportunity to integrate all of these unique features and show them off to the customers who are clicking on your homepage.
The character and consistency of the branding that is displayed throughout your site lets people know exactly who you are, what you stand for, and where they fit in the scheme of things. When a potential buyer feels good not only about what you are selling but about who your business is, they will be more likely to give you their trust as well as their dollars. Your website is one of the best ambassadors you could ever hire to make that happen.
One of the key advantages that customers love about online shopping is its added level of convenience. Instead of driving to a physical store and wandering through the aisles in a frustrated search for the items they want, consumers can quickly search, research the product, and find the lowest prices. Within minutes, everything the person orders can be delivered in a matter of days or even hours.
A website that facilitates this intuitive, quick, and painless process is sure to lead to sales conversions, repeat customers, and positive reviews on social media sites. This is the trifecta of benefits that makes all of the time and money you poured into your website worthwhile. That’s because loyal customers pay for themselves many times over in the form of money spent on your products, positive feedback via word of mouth and social media, and referrals of family and friends.
Provide useful analytics.
Buried within your website is a treasure trove of information about the customers you have been serving. Failing to explore and exploit these details means that you are not making full use of some of the most valuable capabilities your ecommerce site has to offer.
The following are just some of the informational nuggets available to you:
- The effectiveness of your marketing campaigns, including which of your landing pages has generated the most and least sales.
- Details on who has visited your website, including demographic data, as well as the sources of this web traffic.
- Clues on which devices customers are using to get to your site and which types of payment methods people are employing.
- Insights about customer interests and shopping behaviors based on other sites they have visited.
- Feedback on which of your SEO keywords is driving the most traffic;
- Intel on shopping cart abandonment that can help you to minimize this problem.
Once you have integrated these vital tidbits into your short- and long-term business plans, you can do an even better job of targeting your products and promotions to the people who will appreciate them the most.
Grow and change with your business.
As a business owner, you have probably already experienced the unpredictable. Not even the most seasoned entrepreneur can foresee every twist of fate, disaster, or opportunity. What separates a successful merchant from one who gets left behind is not what happens to them, but rather how they deal with those unplanned events.
Believe it or not, your ecommerce site can prove to be an invaluable ally no matter what fortune befalls you. Thanks to automation, your sales stream can continue to flow even if your physical premises are compromised. What’s more, the robust security measures that are built into your payment processing software can minimize the chances of data breaches and other types of fraud.
In many respects, you can consider your ecommerce website to be one of your most reliable sources of support. It constantly markets your most sought-after products, advertises your brand, woos new customers, rewards existing ones, and keeps track of which strategies are working and which are not. All the while, your site is also helping to ensure that your customers’ shopping and payment experiences are as smooth and seamless as possible. That sounds like more than a full day’s work for even your most trusted and productive human employee. Give your business the global reach it deserves and the online presence your customers have come to expect with a powerful ecommerce website.