Of course success comes from hard work and dedication, but much of it can also be contributed to being in the right place at the right time. With technology becoming easier to use and market, right now is the perfect time for your business to be online. Whether you’re an existing business thinking of expanding online or just starting fresh, now is a great time to get involved. Here are some reasons why we think 2014 will be the year for it.
We’re in the Era of eCommerce 2.0
As many of you may have noticed, Canada has started participating in various online retailing events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which was a great success for Canadian merchants. Even big retailers understand that having an online presence and interacting with their customers is now a necessary part of business to stay competitive and innovative. Both merchants and customers are accepting and embracing online shopping.
“We’re seeing a real evolvement in eCommerce because online merchants aren’t the only ones embracing online shopping.” – Nathan Monk, MaRS Discovery District
Everyone is adapting! An area we are definitely seeing this shift is with shipping companies. Shipping policies are becoming more lax and tailored towards entrepreneurs. For example, Canada Post understands that letter mail is slowly dying and is thus transforming themselves into a primarily parcel delivery company. They’re making features such as packaging and cross-border shipping easier and cheaper for businesses. This shift across the board is making the eCommerce industry even stronger. We think it’s safe to say that Canada has finally entered eCommerce 2.0 and it’ll only continue to grow.
Online Tools Breaking Down the Barriers to Entry
BUILDING YOUR SITE
With all the resources, tools, and support out there, entering the eCommerce industry has become easier than ever! SaaS-based eCommerce solutions such as Shopify take out all the guesswork and heavy costs associated with starting a new business. As you grow, you can definitely expand into more complex technologies, but Shopify is a great platform to get your website running in a matter of minutes.
With the use of social media, reaching customers and driving traffic is cheap and easy. With a simple click of a button, you can connect with millions of people all over the world and let them know what and who you are; no marketing dollars needed.
Social media can also be used to easily interact with your customers and contribute to providing stronger customer experiences, which is one of the most important things that a business must provide today. This includes customer interaction and personalized experiences. What better way to do this than online? You can even allow customers to interact with each other through comments and product reviews. Marketing automation tools (e.g. Hubspot, Pardot), big data, and the simple fact that customers have become more comfortable with sharing personal information online also make providing personalized experiences much easier to do.
Metric platforms such as Google Analytics and RJMetrics are great because managers can easily track, keep, and grow their customer base. You can see exactly where your customers are coming from and see how to better serve your marketing programs. It also makes A/B testing easier to do.
Nowadays, there are several tools and resources out on the web for you. You can learn about more ways to creatively market your online business here.
Opening an online store is a great way to grow your business in a cost efficient way. Being online exposes you to a whole new global market; you are no longer limited to a certain number of people… within a certain distance… within a certain amount of hours. Imagine the kind of dollars you would need to set up stores in order to reach such a market!
For bricks and mortars, a common misconception of expanding online was that it would result in cannibalization; however, incorporating eCommerce into your business model can actually increase sales among your existing customers, which is also much more efficient than acquiring new ones. Having an online presence will enhance your brand image, increase customer loyalty, and create feedback mediums to improve your business.
The Perfect Location
There is no better place than online to fill the placement aspect of your marketing mix, and there’s a couple of reasons why.
1. YOU ARE ACCESSIBLE!
Not only are you one Google search, but you can also engage in multi-channel shopping so that customers can find your products through several channels. Comparison sites such as Shopbot and online marketplaces such as Amazon are great ways to optimize your sales. It’s also easy to offer different currency, shipping, and language options which make you accessible globally.
2. YOU ARE CONVENIENT!
Thanks to the popularity of smartphones and tablets, you virtually exist in everyone’s pockets. It gives people the ability of shopping your store without taking a step out of the house! This responsive design feature is offered by Shopify.
Rise of Omnichannel
Omnichannel retailing is becoming huge for 2014! From bricks and mortar to online sites to mobile devices, you want your customer experience to be seamless through all available shopping channels! This can also include pop up shops and in-store pickups. Customers like this because it allows them to look up products before visiting the store. They can also showroom products in store then purchase online or even search up product features while in store. Opening an online store and providing an omnichannel experience for customers will open up new opportunities and make your customers more knowledgeable.
It’s Happening Everywhere
With places like Apple checking out their customers online and emailing receipts even in physical retail stores, eCommerce is quickly becoming a norm in traditional commerce. Technology has already become an everyday part of our lives which makes it the perfect channel to conduct business.