In the age of ever-evolving digitalization, a number of brick and mortar stores are having to look at changing the way they do business in order to stay relevant today. Business owners are looking to widen their reach and increase their sales, and eCommerce is one of the most popular and successful ways to do so. Whether your business is still a startup, or well-established, there’s no time like the present to ensure your brand is as open to as many customers as possible, and this can be a reality through eCommerce. Here are some of the ways in which it can help you grow your business, written in collaboration with Merchants, a Dimension Data company.
Broaden your customer base
While you might feel you get enough people into your store on a daily basis, eCommerce opens your business up to a much larger number of customers from different locations. Your store is no longer just seen by the locals who know you and regularly walk past, but can be found by anyone and everyone with an online presence, even consumers overseas.
According to a 2016 Effective Measure eCommerce Industry Report, 56% of the 12,000 South African internet users surveyed have shopped online. So with an extra presence online, you can tap into the online market which has yet to see your products, and sales will begin to increase. While your product may be targeted towards a specific target market, you’ll still be able to reach more consumers who fit into your chosen audience.
An eCommerce site can offer far more personalization than a brick and mortar store, and is something that customers are highly interested in today. You can enable the collection of data from customers when they login to your site and purchase products, and use the information you find to offer customers options and suggestions unique to their buying habits and preferences.
According to Didier Uljasz, MD of Accenture Interactive and keynote speaker at the 2017 IAB Digital Summit, customers will respond far better to a brand that has taken note of their preferences and offered them product recommendations, kept them informed of their product deliveries and used a personal and friendly tone during interactions. Ecommerce allows your business to offer a more personalised service, one that customers will appreciate and use over and over again.
Seamless customer service
Having a website offers a number of opportunities for you to create a seamless customer service experience. A frequently asked questions page, for example, is the perfect opportunity to reduce the amount of emails and calls you receive, and provides instant answers to these frequent questions. Your contact page is another way to let customers know you are easily reachable if they’d prefer to call or email you, even an instant message pop up on-site can answer customer questions instantaneously.
Customers like to engage with the brands they use, and offering a seamless customer service will improve engagement with customers, and inevitably trust in your brand. According to research by OpinionLab, 66% of customers prefer to give their feedback to brands by actively reaching out to them. Ecommerce opens up more ways for your customers to get in touch, quickly and conveniently. What if you don’t have a customer service team? Fortunately today it’s simple enough to invest in business process outsourcing, to get a contact centre up and running for you.
Longer opening hours
While a physical store opens and closes at specific times, an eCommerce store is open all the time. And in a world where convenience is key as people have less time to spend walking from shop to shop looking for a product, an eCommerce store that offers customers the ability to browse at any time of the day or night opens your business to sales that you might have lost out on once your store has closed.
According to research, one of the main reasons for shopping online is that it saves time, and for those who work long hours or shifts, having an eCommerce store available to browse and purchase from outside of the usual office opening times is a huge benefit. This increases your chances of making more sales, as your business offers customers the chance to browse or shop whenever they want to.
While eCommerce might not suit every business, it is a reliable way to move with the times and offer your customers an even better shopping experience. From increasing your customer base and offering a more personalised service, to creating a seamless customer support service and allowing customers to shop any time, eCommerce offers multiple ways to help you grow your business. With consumers driving the popular trends of personalisation, convenience and brand engagement, eCommerce is one of the best ways to ensure your brand stays relevant and thrives in the business world today.