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Why your small business customers should start selling online

Ecommerce is growing at a record pace. Yet for small businesses, competing with the giants of online retail has been a scary thought! Then COVID-19 hit. Now it's a battle of business survival. All SMBs need get their goods and services online to thrive and survive.
Female small business owner building an online store on a laptop in a light, small clothing store

Mobile commerce is growing at a record pace. Yet for small businesses, competing with the giants of online retail has been a scary thought! It’s likely that small business owners have a preconceived idea that selling online is difficult or time-consuming. Maybe they have a physical store and they’ve been reluctant to make changes.

Then COVID-19 hit. As we’ve been confined to our homes, e-commerce has become an even more important part of our lives. And even though we have been at home, shopping done via a mobile device has still continued to trend upwards – even faster than it was before!

Sales via mobile were up 10% in May compared with January. Despite not being on the go, mobile commerce is an important part of the landscape of online shopping. And while 2020 has shown us that nobody can predict the future, it’s unlikely that the trend towards mobile commerce will slow down. Even before the pandemic, mobile commerce looked set to tip the balance in 2021, with 54% of all online sales anticipated to be via a mobile device

But it’s not all about the Coronavirus. There are many advantages to having an online store. So, here are six top reasons your small business customers should be selling online:

1. The rise of mobile commerce

M-commerce is the term given to shopping done on a mobile device. And with more and more people shopping via their mobile phones, it’s growing – fast.

A study into the state of mobile revealed that pre-pandemic shopping via a mobile device peaked in 2019. In the US alone, over 33 billion dollars’ worth of retail sales took place on a mobile device in November and December. Globally, $38.4 billion was spent on one day in November 2019.

And while these incredible figures might seem to be only for the big players, it’s not the case. With more and more transactions happening via our phones, the ripple effect will impact smaller businesses too. Now is the time for small companies to start selling online, as m-commerce shows no sign of slowing down.

2. Consumers’ lives are online – and so are their spending habits

Are your customers reluctant to sell online? Perhaps encouraging them to think about how they use their own mobile devices might change their mind…

From social media to ordering food, banking to making travel plans, we live our lives online. Consumers expect to go about everyday tasks with the help of the internet. It’s no different when it comes to shopping.

The State of Mobile Study found that people spend an average of 3hrs and 40 minutes per day on their mobile devices. Another study, by Vision Direct, found that time spent looking at a phone was 5 hours and 2 minutes per day in lockdown, up 29 minutes on pre-pandemic levels. 

Whichever study you look at, we undoubtedly spend a lot of time looking at our phones. That gives retailers plenty of opportunities to sell to consumers. What’s more, small businesses can keep on selling even when their physical store is closed! 

With lockdowns around the world, regional and localised restrictions in place, the ability to trade online is a big advantage to small businesses. It means they are less reliant on footfall to generate revenue. 

3. It’s easy to get started

Gone are the days when setting up an online presence was difficult. In 2020, businesses can set up an online store in a matter of clicks.

With our website and online store builder, the process is simple. Business owners can simply snap a picture, write a description, and add the product to their site. That’s it! They’re ready to make their first sale. Our 2019 H2 updates outline how we plan to make e-commerce and m-commerce a breeze for small businesses.

4. Selling online is cheaper than a physical store

With low fees and virtually no overheads, selling online is cost-efficient. Which means small business owners keep more of the cash they worked hard for! This is great news for those people who are new to business. They can set up and start generating income without a large financial commitment.

For businesses with a physical store, selling online is a low-cost way to add another revenue stream. And a simple set up and management process means it won’t take up lots of time either.  

5. An online store gives small businesses credibility

A professional website shows a business at its best. Just like businesses have a dedicated phone number, an online presence demonstrates the same level of professionalism.

It’s no secret that consumers do their research before purchasing. Customers want to know who they are buying from. A dedicated store, with its own domain and SSL certificate, shows seriousness and respect for customer security.

6. Their store, their way

There are other advantages for small businesses selling direct to customers.

When small retailers sell products via their store, there’s no middle man. Marketplaces such as eBay, Amazon and Etsy have a place in the overall e-commerce picture. However, consumers that purchase via those networks aren’t fully the customers of the small company.   

An online store is a golden chance for small businesses to build a customer base. That means opportunities to build a personal relationship, share offers, rewards and insider exclusives that are only available to direct customers. This builds loyalty and gives small businesses more opportunities to cross-sell their own products. The result? Their business flourishes… and so does yours!

Build trust with your business customers

If your small business customers like the idea of selling online, but they’re a little overwhelmed, no problem. If they’re exploring a new entrepreneurial avenue, prompted by the pandemic, setting up a store through their existing provider gives them reassurance.

The opportunities outweigh any possible drawbacks. Remind customers that they don’t have to become Amazon overnight! The key is to start small; begin with a few bestsellers, and from there, they’ll build confidence and watch their business grow.

To learn more about re-selling websites and online stores, contact our sales team today.

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