Internet use is still growing year after year, and as more and more people have Internet access, more and more small businesses are recognizing the importance of integrating some form of ecommerce / online catalog as part of their business marketing portfolio. The Internet never goes offline, and websites are accessible every hour of the day – there are no opening and closing times on the Internet serving a worldwide market.
For the average person, the ability to be able to shop from the comfort home is a very welcome idea, and is becoming a very popular method of purchasing goods… Even for mobile users! Those customers who still prefer the tangibility of a brick and mortar store, the Internet still provides a way of researching the products they are interested in, to compare different prices, gain product knowledge and prepare to make an educated decisions without salesman pressure.
Another advantage of the Internet is its worldwide reach. Small business retailers no longer have to have brick & mortar stores in many different geographical locations to become a national brand – by selling on the web, they can get their product seen by a much larger audience.
However, it is not as simple as setting up online and customers automatically come flocking to your shop; a lot of hard work needs to go into developing, promoting and securing your online store, thus tackling many of the same related start up and maintenance issues with a brick and mortar store. The biggest difference is cost, while you may end up paying a couple of thousand dollars to properly develop your shopping cart… you will still be saving on start up fees, rent and other traditional business overhead costs These savings can then be passed on to the shoppers, making your business more competitive in its niche.
Undoubtedly then, a small business with a Internet promotable product would be foolish to overlook the power of the ecommerce. Businesses should plan and look to incorporate some form of ecommerce into their current business marketing portfolio. Be aware, however, as major differences exist between selling online and selling in real life, and you will need to build up a high level of trust with Internet customers… In perhaps ways you are not yet accustomed to.