E-commerce is changing the way that we shop. E-commerce’s advantages benefit both consumers and retailers. According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, US shoppers (one of the largest consumer groups):
- 70 percent have Broadband/Internet access.
- 20 percent have access to a smart phone.
- 81 percent have used the Internet to research a product they’re considering buying.
- 20 percent of Internet users say they research purchases on a daily basis.
What exactly are e-commerce’s advantages for consumers? And how are e-commerce business owners benefiting from it? Here are four reasons e-commerce is here to stay:
- One of the main reasons people shop online is for convenience. A well-designed, e-commerce site with quality content can do double duty as a marketing tool and a salesperson or cashier, all wrapped up in one.
- Customers can shop in their own time. The Internet never closes. Due to this, your e-commerce site is working for you 24/7 and shoppers can buy items outside of normal business hours. They can also read your sales material, endless reviews by fellow shoppers and professionals, compare prices from countless vendors and even watch videos without having to wait for stores to open and deal with lines.
- Online stores don’t require live salespeople so customers don’t have to deal with salespeople. Additionally, the customer does the work for himself — like searching for products, entering billing information and registering for an e-mail confirmation. This is work that paid customer service employees don’t have to do. That work, essentially, has been “transferred” to the customer. In the end an e-commerce owner will save money on salaries for the company.
- E-commerce allows even a small, home-based company, to establish a global reach with a simple e-commerce site. Previously, customers from another part of the world would not have access to your product. Nowadays, anyone, anywhere surfing the web can read about your product, and better yet, buy it! You don’t have to set up physical locations in any specific region. All that is needed is a good e-commerce site design and relevant online advertising to catch the attention of potential online clients.
E-commerce business owners also have the advantage that no store, no matter how big, can match the Internet for variety and selection. You don’t need to confine your store to an immediate geographical area. You can advertise your product down the street or halfway around the world. With e-commerce, the geographical boundaries don’t necessarily apply.
Once again, e-commerce has given consumers options that they never had before. Previously, shoppers went to a store, looked at products, talked to a sales clerk and bought what seemed like the best choice. These limitations have been lifted and shoppers prefer the freedom to shop any time they want. And e-commerce business owners are reaping the benefits of this new found freedom by consumers.