There has never been a better time for small businesses to be selling online. eCommerce is booming in almost every sector while at the same time, new cloud-based solutions make it possible to manage a highly professional online shop at a fraction of the cost.
Online shopping is big business. Last year, UK shoppers spent an average of £1,083 online — more than any other major country in the world. However, a recent report claims that only half of UK business websites have eCommerce features to enable them to sell their products or services online.
Consumers have come to expect online ordering from even the smallest businesses. Our own research found that 56% expect small businesses to offer online shopping capabilities. With so many small businesses already cashing in on eCommerce, you could already be losing out to your competitors if you don’t sell online.
Even customers who don’t wish to buy online still expect to find product information on a business’ website — 62% said they browse online before purchasing a product in store.
If you haven’t considered selling online, just think about the size of the audience you’re missing out on. eCommerce allows you to sell your products to anywhere in the world, meaning you are no longer restricted to the local area. This equates to incredible potential for increased sales and profits.
Many small businesses have realised this potential, and have chosen to sell their products on eBay or even via their Facebook page. This does not give an impression of professionalism. The main benefit of eCommerce is that it allows the smallest businesses to compete with the largest — you’d never see a large, successful business sending their customers to eBay to buy their products. It’s best to have an eCommerce solution integrated with your business website. This means you can manage your whole sales process through your site, from advertising your products to taking payment and organising delivery.
The good news is it’s not as complicated as you might think to create an eCommerce website. When I started my first company Euroffice 12 years ago, we were unable to find a company that would develop a basic eCommerce website for less than £50k.
It’s no longer necessary to hire dedicated web designers and developers to build a bespoke solution for you. With cloud-based eCommerce platforms like bOnline, you can get an eCommerce website for as little as £14.95 per month and that includes more functionality than most mid-sized companies have through their eCommerce sites.