The rise of e-commerce has been one of the most staggering and perhaps unprecedented trends in the 21st century. The Office of National Statistics reports that three quarters of Brits shop online today, but, somewhat surprisingly, there are still many businesses that are not yet heading down the digital route.
Figures for 2016 reveal that nearly half of all small businesses do not yet have a website, with some opting to utilise third party seller websites such as eBay and Amazon Marketplace, and others offering their customers no e-commerce solutions at all. However, there are, as we’ll see, a number of benefits to selling online.
Online sales could actually help to save a business money and minimise outgoings. While it’s always worthwhile maintaining a small warehouse or other form of on-site storage facility, especially for bestsellers, quick-moving products, and imported brands which can take significant time to source on demand, there is no need to keep a warehouse large enough to contain all available products.
In fact, one of the biggest benefits of selling online – particularly for large items such as flooring packs – is that it’s possible to showcase all items without needing to have them in stock, or have them presented in consumer-safe premises. The best products to forgo are those that can be sourced quickly (from UK manufacturers, for example), and those products that can be sent directly from the supplier – by dropshipping.
Larger delivery radius
Following on from the concept of dropshipping, online sales (and the increase in business connections that accompany online selling) make it easier and much more cost effective for companies to expand their delivery radius to boost their sales and, ultimately, their profits.
Sadly, there has long been a trend for businesses selling large, bulky items, such as flooring, to deliver only to their local area due to the costs associated with radius expansion. By arranging for delivery direct from the manufacturer in a dropshipping capacity, or even through an ongoing contract with a nationwide or international courier company, these costs can be significantly reduced, making the idea of delivery radius expansion both a more achievable goal, and one that can quickly and easily be implemented.
Bigger customer base
Marketing is often cited as one of the major obstacles for businesses, but the rise of e-commerce really has played a big role in making self promotion a whole lot easier. Bricks-and-mortar only businesses are typically very restricted in the range of marketing opportunities they can utilise, and are often limited to the more outdated forms of advertising including television and print.
Today, it’s all about digital marketing, but businesses that do not partake in e-commerce are unable to make use of digital methods to their fullest potential. These include boosting clickthrough rates via social media platforms, and using rich media to improve conversion, both of which have proved to be hugely beneficial in reaching new customers, and even completely new demographics. A website isn’t restricted by geography; it can reach target demographics across the globe.
Although there are a large number of benefits to selling online from a business perspective, such as lower overheads, for example, what it all comes down to is the satisfaction of the customer. After all, a business is nothing without its customers, and these customers have come to expect online selling solutions; it’s the new norm. Selling products such as flooring online helps to meet the expectations that today’s customers have. Ultimately, it works to improve overall satisfaction, and help ensure that customers have a great experience, resulting in ongoing loyalty and the likelihood of positive word-of-mouth.