Let’s be honest. 2020 wasn’t a brilliant year for most of us. We spent our days cooped up indoors, often separated from our closest family members. Many small businesses saw their income plummet overnight, and some even shut down altogether.
The only companies that managed to get through the pandemic relatively unscathed were those businesses who used the benefits of ecommerce to offer their services online.
Thankfully, we have a vaccine on the way, and 2021 will hopefully shape up to be a whole lot better for everybody.
This means that it is now time to start getting your business back on track. I think I have just the solution. Let me tell you about eCommerce and its advantages. Let me tell you why this is the best way to take your business forward this year.
How ecommerce changed in 2020
eCommerce sales in the United Kingdom have been steadily growing each year. In 2019, eCommerce made up a whopping 21.8% of all retail sales in the country.
Many of the sites I have designed for clients generate significant incomes for their owners. If you had an eCommerce website up and running in 2019 and marketed it well, then your business could have made substantial amounts of cash.
That was 2019, though. Back then, nobody knew that in 2020 we would be cooped up with one of our only comforts being able to purchase things online.
It wasn’t just the luxuries that we were heading online to buy either. It was also the necessities. In 2020, over 30% of all retail sales in the UK were made online.
While it is likely that this figure will fall a little bit in 2021 as we start to head out the stores again, it is clear that eCommerce is going through explosive growth. It is here to stay.
This means that there is no better time than now to consider an eCommerce website. Get one up and running and you will be essentially ‘futureproofing’ your business.
To give you an idea of how eCommerce grew in the UK during 2020, over 85,000 businesses launched their first online venture in the first four months of the year.
I have no doubt that this number grew rapidly as the year went on. This means that some of your competitors will already have launched their website, and they could be grabbing your old customers.
Let me run you through some of the advantages of eCommerce so you can see just how important having an eCommerce website can be for your small business.
Target new customers
If you run a small business without a website, chances are that your only customers will be passing trade, and perhaps somebody that has Googled and seen you listed on Yelp.
While some businesses can thrive on this type of trade, I am positive that every company out there wants to make as much money as possible. This leads me neatly onto the first one of the benefits of eCommerce.
If you have an eCommerce site, then you will be able to target new customers outside of your local area. I am talking nationally and even internationally.
I have worked with business owners that had relegated themselves to the idea of only selling products in their town. I helped them to design a decent website, they engaged in a spot of marketing, and they are now doing business all over the country.
Now is a brilliant time to launch a new website as more people than ever are searching for products online. They do not care where you are based in the country. They just care that you can offer a reasonable price and can get their order to them quickly.
I can assure you that with a good website designed in 2021, coupled with proper marketing, you will be able to reach customers that you never thought possible.
Launching an ecommerce site is cheaper than you think
I am going to assume that you run a small business that already has products to sell. This eliminates one of the significant expenses of setting up an online business, the stock.
There will be expenses related to getting a site up and running. This includes:
However, the cost of these will be fairly negligible compared to the amount of money that you could be making.
Think of launching an online store as being similar to launching dozens and dozens of branches around the country. The advantage is that you do not have to worry about buying properties or paying extortionate rent. Staffing costs probably won’t go up either.
So, that is another one of the advantages of eCommerce. When it is done right, it can generate one of the best returns on your investment.
Since your business probably suffered in 2020, I am positive that you want the best ROI possible in 2021, and eCommerce is the way that you are going to get there.
Online sales are up across the board
Some niches didn’t do too well when it came to eCommerce in the past. They would make some sales online, but the bulk of the business would always be in their retail branches.
In 2020, things changed. Nearly every single niche saw an upturn in business online. This is one of the big benefits of eCommerce right now.
It doesn’t matter what type of retail store you have, you will see an upswing in sales if you launch an eCommerce store.
It will be a non-negligible amount too. It doesn’t even have to be a retail business.
I have worked with clients that run service-orientated businesses and they have seen a huge increase in sales due to having an eCommerce site available.
Obviously, there are some industries that will thrive a little bit more. For example, 2020 saw businesses that deal in groceries and ‘disaster preparation’ gear thrive, but that makes sense.
I think this will change a little bit in the future when the pandemic begins to die down. However, from the stats that I have seen, I do genuinely believe that every niche will start to do more business online in the coming years.
Your business is open 24/7
This is probably one of the most obvious advantages of eCommerce, but one that I really want to point out.
The pandemic has changed people’s idea of shopping. People have been doing shopping whenever they want for the last year or so. I am guilty of the same thing.
My weekly ASDA shop now takes the form of a midnight order from the comfort of my sofa.
People are going to struggle to go back to the idea of having to drag themselves to stores during business hours and pick up whatever they need. They want things to be made easy.
Having an online business means that your site is open 24/7. No matter the time of day, people are going to be able to pick up whatever they need.
Many of the clients I have worked with have said that one of the big benefits of eCommerce that they have noticed is the number of orders they have had placed overnight.
Before, they were closing at 5pm. Now they are taking online orders all the way through to 2-3am.
With an eCommerce site, you will be able to see these benefits too.
People plan to shop online more
It seems that 2020 has opened up people’s eyes to the benefits of eCommerce. I am not just talking about small businesses here either. I am talking about the customers.
In 2020, ChannelAdviser ran a study. At various times of the year, they asked people whether their purchasing habits will likely change going forward.
In May 2020, 42% of people said that they were now likely to shop more online. By August 2020, this had shot up to 55% of people.
Since you now have 55% of people willing to shop more online, can you really afford to throw away that sort of business?
Let’s say that these people are interested in the products that you sell and they head online. Do you really want them to go to one of your competitors?
No. You want them to shop with you. This means that you need to take hold of one of the major advantages of eCommerce and get a site up and running.
While no studies have been carried out so far, I genuinely feel that as we enter 2021, more people will convert to the idea of purchasing online.
This isn’t a figure that is going to go down, and you need a site there to reel them in.
Break free from the shackles of rented property
I think many small businesses have started to realise just how expensive it can be to rent a retail outlet. Many of us still had to meet our rent obligations during 2020, even if our businesses were not allowed to open up.
Many major companies were seeing this too. There are a lot of big companies that have announced that their staff will be working from home from now on. This means even when the pandemic is over. It is a great cost-cutting measure.
You could benefit in the same way from your eCommerce business. Let’s face it, retail on the High Street is down. It may rebound a little bit, but it was already dying before the pandemic hit. So I wouldn’t count on it.
The thing is that while the High Street business is down, rent prices never really changed in line with this downturn. So, small and medium businesses are now paying more rent than ever while doing less business than ever. It is really cutting into those profit margins.
One of the significant benefits of eCommerce is that you are not bound by where your business location. You could run it from your home if you wish.
This means that you are saving money while not offering a lesser service; a situation that most business owners can only dream about.
Many of the clients I have designed sites for have managed to generate so much business through their website that they have shut down their physical branches. They have increased earnings, even amid a pandemic.
Very few businesses were luckily enough to see that. So, one of the advantages of eCommerce is that you will see rapid growth in your business, lower costs, and higher profits.
Web development is faster than you may think
This isn’t really one of the benefits of eCommerce, but I do want to wrap up by pointing out that eCommerce development is actually faster than you may think.
In the past, it would cost huge sums of cash to get an eCommerce site up and running. This would often take months. Nowadays, this process can be narrowed down to mere weeks, sometimes even less.
A lot of that time will be spent working out what is actually needed on the website. The development process can be completed in a timely manner. So you could have an eCommerce site up and running by next month if you really committed yourself to the project.
2021 is probably the best time to get your site up and running. Web development is faster than ever, while you will also end up with a far better website than the ones created a few years ago.
Sanders Design is able to create an amazing website exceedingly fast at a budget that is suitable for small businesses. This means that it is now easier than ever to launch a website.
Remember, all of your competitors probably have the same idea as you right now, so you will want to consider launching your website before they have the opportunity to get theirs up and running.
This means that one of the big advantages of eCommerce is that you will be able to get ahead of your competitors. Once you have managed to gain customers in your niche, your competitors will find it very difficult to get them back.
Now that I have walked you through eCommerce’s many advantages, why not get in touch with the team here at Sanders Design?
We have been working throughout this pandemic to help small business owners around the nation get their very first eCommerce sites up and running. Despite a downturn in retail sales at their physical locations, many of these businesses generate more profits online.
Why not turn 2021 into an opportunity to profit from the benefits of ecommerce; if you want to learn more about eCommerce’s advantages and discover how it could increase your income contact Sanders Design today.