Looking to increase your sales without investing in additional staff? Want to cut cost without reducing your customer service level? You’d like to develop new sales channels and reach outside your current territories without the overhead that usually follows? You’ve considered going online to meet those objectives but aren’t sure if the benefits outweigh the risks?
Here are 10 reasons why you need to start selling online today:
1 – Online Sales are Growing: You’re probably already aware of this but the fact of the matter remains: Online sales are growing, fast. In 2009 the total U.S. Online retail sales reached $155.2 billion and are expected to grow a steady 10% annually to reach the $250 billion mark by 2014*. The online market is growing worldwide and there’s still plenty of room for companies to do business.
*Forrester Forecast: Online retail Sales Will Grow to $250 Billion by 2014 – Erick Schonfeld – Mar 8, 2010
2- Cost: We’re not in 1998 anymore so you can forget about having to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars and thousands of hours of labor for a professional grade e-commerce. You can now get a powerful solution, fitted to your needs with low work impact, for only a few hundred dollars a month leaving you with more money to spend in R&D, IT or sales and marketing.
3- ERP Integration: Selling online without having a direct link to your ERP just doesn’t cut it anymore. You don’t need to manage your online business and your Brick & Mortar business separately. Today, many e-commerce solutions can be seamlessly integrated to powerful ERP (accounting software) systems.You can expand the power of your ERP to your online sales channel and increase your existing revenue growth strategy without doubling the work.
4- eMarketing tools: Good e-commerce solutions already come with integrated, out-of-the-box and easy to use eMarketing tools, giving you the ability to create eNewsletters, eFlyers, promotions and eCoupons campaigns as well as providing a real time integration with Google Analytics and AdWords. This makes it very easy for anyone at your company to promote your online store and there’s no costly printing and mailing fees associated with direct marketing campaigns.
5- Customer service relief: An eStore can take some pressure off your customer service department. Information regarding the product, its price, its availability, the shipping status, refunds and returns can all be accessed by the customer through your online store without involving your customer service.
6- Security: Forget about the times when it was risky to give out your credit card number on the web. Today, Internet transactions are one of the most secure ways of doing business. E-Commerce platforms use encryption keys for data transfer and third party payment servers to process their information, making it virtually impossible to fraud. There’s no physical currency transfer or manipulation so only you have access to your money.
7- Enhanced Customer Experience: With the technological feats of the last few years, customer experience has grown to an all-time high. Good e-commerce solutions offer customers rich multi-media content such as HD Video, the opportunity to shop on your online store with their mobile device (Mobile phone & IPad) and the freedom to quickly share their thoughts on your blog, forum or Facebook page in a matter of minutes. Technology has given your brand the tools to reach out to the customers at a personal level thus building stronger brand loyalty.
8- Sell to the planet: It’s no secret; you can access the web from virtually anywhere on the planet. Some e-commerce solutions offer multilingual contents, multi-currency capabilities, local tax rate and shipping methods. You can go global and look local.
9- People buy more, more often: When a customer can buy online, he will place higher value orders more often. Most businesses will transfer 30% of their order entering through their online store in the first 6 months of operations. Good e-commerce solutions guarantee an up time of 99.98% meaning your online store is always open for business and your customers can always buy your products and services.
10 – Everything is measurable: Probably the greatest advantage of an online store is the ability to measure its every aspect with exact precision and adjusting your business model in real time. You can know how many customers came to your store, where they came from, how many bought something, how many didn’t and why. You can measure with precision if an ad campaign was successful or not and make the necessary modifications for next time. This information, not available as quickly or as precisely with a Brick & Mortar business, allows you to constantly improve the buyers experience and maximize your earnings.