We are in a global age, and the advancement of technology globally has made it easy for eCommerce to rise to lofty heights. Every industry now has companies shifting their business operations to adopt digital processes and solutions. This is a fast-growing trend, and it does not just include the large companies but the small companies and startups as well. No one is left behind.
This digitalization has influenced the general market as well, and there are now massive differences in consumer behavior than it was many years ago. With artificial intelligence, cryptocurrency, cashless transactions, the internet of things, and many other technological innovations now very much within the end consumers’ reach.
The reality of access that everyone now has means that we now have a mostly digitally literate society globally. For instance, the increasing use of mobile phones shows how many digital consumers are completing their daily tasks.
The Impact of Digitalization
Digitalization has brought about changes in the way that consumers shop for the products that they want. With mobile devices being the primary medium, the buying experience has now moved online compared to consumers going to patronize brick-and-mortar shops. According to a Statista report, this claims that 21.8% of the world’s total population buys their products online.
The online shopping trend is also a fast-growing trend and is one of the trends that have impacted the retail industry the most. A significant example of changes in the retail sector is the rise of eCommerce. The retail industry continually looks for ways to cater to the needs of its customers who have chosen to shop online, which has led to more people shopping online and more businesses selling online. The success of leading eCommerce stores such as Alibaba and Amazon is a testament to how popular eCommerce is now. Unsurprisingly, all of this is happening at the expense of the traditional retail stores.
One report also claims that eCommerce sales made up a total of 11.9% of worldwide retail sales in 2018, and this number is projected to be at 17.5% come 2021. This shows how eCommerce opens up the retail business to a large pool of potential customers online. This is why it is now a new trend to see a retail business not stop at having a physical store, but they also have an eCommerce store where they also sell online.
However, we have to note that some in the retail industry are yet to adopt eCommerce as part of their business practice or are slow to accept it. These ones have opted to continue in the traditional retail methods of marketing and selling offline. And it is a difficult challenge to remain competitive in these conditions.
According to an MDEC report, eCommerce businesses will quickly outgrow offline businesses by as much as 13 times in today’s digital world. This shows how much advantage an eCommerce business has over the traditional offline retail business and why companies are better off moving online.
Apart from the rapid growth and exposure to a large pool of potential customers, eCommerce has another significant advantage in improving work efficiency and productivity. An MDEC and MITI report shows that the level of productivity for the B2B eCommerce market increases by 15%, and for B2C, the growth is 80% compared to the traditional offline business.
As we continue in this article, we will consider some of the benefits that eCommerce businesses have over traditional businesses struggling to catch up.
The benefit of Ecommerce Business over Traditional Retail Business
Ecommerce has many advantages and benefits compared to the traditional business methods in almost all industries (not the retail sector alone). This ensures that your business can grow immensely, much more than it would with traditional retail practices. To prove this, authors at Assignment Masters make a compilation of some of the benefits of eCommerce over conventional businesses.
- Remove time constraints and geographical limitations.
This is one of the most apparent advantages of eCommerce. Unlike the traditional business restricted to a location, eCommerce ensures no geographical limit to business transactions. So, customers can buy from anywhere, and sellers can sell to anybody anywhere. This meets the needs of a large number of potential buyers that prefer shopping on-the-go.
Ecommerce businesses have extensive coverage because of the absence of geographical limitations. This gives them the possibility to branch into the international market and start targeting audiences in other countries without necessarily having an overseas base for operations in that country.
Consumers can also buy whatever they want at any time of the day is also one of the reasons for a higher amount of sales that eCommerce businesses make compared to the brick-and-mortar stores that open and close at a specific time.
As there is increasing use of mobile phones for browsing the internet, this has given eCommerce business more advantage as consumers can take orders from their phone as pay the same way. Very easy and stress-free and is an upgrade on the traditional retail practices. A Statista report of Q3 2018 shows that 61% of retail sites’ visits were from mobile phones.
Ecommerce is very cost-effective because it does not require large business capital or investment compared to everything it takes to set up a brick-and-mortar store – not to mention the store maintenance and the monthly/yearly rent.
For an online business, what you need is a web-based platform, and somewhere you can operate from, and that is all. You can kick start your business with very little to no capital. You do not need many employees to run an online business as you would with a physical one because you can automate most of your business operations. So, the need for human resources is very minimal.
Ecommerce also helps to cut down on the cost of marketing while ensuring qualitative results and boost conversion rates (even better than the products you will get for traditional marketing efforts).
Digital marketing strategies are very inexpensive, and you can execute it through organic reach (which you do not have to pay for) and paid advertising. And yet they offer tremendous results that can massively boost your sales. But conventional advert mediums like radio or television ads, and print media are costly and provide lesser (or at most same results as) digital marketing.
Convenience is one of the significant reasons why eCommerce businesses have the upper hand over traditional retail companies. It is in great demand from consumers in today’s market, and eCommerce offers them that. Rather than go through the stress of covering physical distances to shop, the consumers can shop from their homes more comfortable and faster with almost no effort required.
These eCommerce platforms’ features are designed for consumers to have the best shopping experience when it comes to convenience. It is easy for them to find specific products, especially with the functionality of a search bar. They can also customize and refine their search options so that it only shows them relevant products. This way, consumers can conveniently explore, compare, and research products to decide on the best one for them before they make the purchase, which increases eCommerce conversion rates.
- Abundance of information
A physical retail store can only put out so limited information about each product (that is if they can at all). This is a limitation that eCommerce stores do not have as they can put out an abundance of information about each of their products without any restrictions. Some of the additional information you can get on eCommerce stores about a product include product description, product availability, product images, product specification, buyers’ reviews, payment methods, delivery fulfillment information, etc.
This abundance of information affects consumers. Each buyer’s autonomous buying experience is promoted by conducting product research independently and comparing different products with the much information they have.
A KPGM report highlights the importance of product information, as 65% of potential buyers check their mobile phones for price comparisons while at a physical retail store.
- Targeted communication
Ecommerce has an extensive database for customers and prospects, and the ability to send out targeted information is a significant advantage for eCommerce stores. The stores have their sign-up features to gather information to create a database, analyze the data, and look for ways to understand their target market better.
This way, they know how to understand their customers’ user behavior and can make plans on the best forms of communication with a target audience depending on the data they have at hand. With this, businesses can craft out better and more effective marketing strategies with their member-only promo, email marketing, product suggestion, etc. Businesses can also build a community that revolves around them.
Without a doubt, there are many benefits that eCommerce businesses enjoy that the traditional retail businesses struggle with. This article mentions up to 5 of these benefits while leaving out the amount of visibility that eCommerce businesses have online compared to conventional retail businesses stuck at a point, eCommerce businesses’ ability to sell products in their niche, and the cost-effectiveness of managing their online inventory.