In a time where even dogs have their own social media pages and websites, clients and consumers expect any type of business to be represented online. From artisan soapmakers to small brick-and-mortar stores, retailers need a web presence. And you need to stay competitive.
While you may not want an eCommerce website, your target audience has expectations they need met … and there are a few benefits for you as a small business owner, too.
So let’s get into it: the three benefits small retail business owners and artisans can expect from an eCommerce store.
Meet Consumer Expectations & Exceed Your Own
The majority of consumers already shop for products online. If you’re not eCommerce enabled, you’re behind the competition.
Besides meeting customers’ expectations, an eCommerce store can exceed your expectations. Many platforms like WordPress’ Woocommerce, Shopify, BigCommerce, Squarespace, and others give small business owners tremendous insight into their customers.
Why are so many customers abandoning their carts? Are you accurately describing your products?
Extend Your Reach
Sure, the physical shopping experience can be unparalleled, but online shopping saves customers time. And it gives you the potential to reach a larger audience.
Online shopping is not the experience it once was before, and there are a couple of reasons for that.
Search Engine Optimization
The first is a term that you may have heard before: search engine optimization, or SEO. Search engines like Google, Bing, and DuckDuckGo have an equation–also known as an algorithm–that they use to sort through all the content on the internet to provide search users with the webpages that best match their search inquiries. Using SEO on your website makes it so your webpages are easily read by the search engines, and as a result, recommended more.
Social Media Platforms
Simply put, online shopping has become more social.
Pinterest allows users to aggregate ideas and products into inspiration and favorites boards as pins. Most of these pins, saved from interested shoppers, link directly to the website that the products are from so every time the picture is shared, that website reaches another potential customer.
Pinterest offers a variety of opportunities, especially for artisan creators, as consumers generate 70 percent of brand engagement on Pinterest (not brands!).
Other social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and even Reddit also offer retailers opportunities. The best platform to use depends on your target audience.
As well as being shared and recommended easier on social media, an eCommerce store can reach prospective customers directly through targeted pay-per-click (PPC) ads on Google or other search engines. The best part about PPC? You only have to pay for your ad when someone actually clicks on it, so you’re paying directly for results. It’s quick and targeted exposure.
Improve Customer Service
An online store can supplement the customer service you already provide in-store or over the phone. Live chat is also another option that helps to answer customer questions and concerns.
Online stores can even offer customer service solutions while you’re closed, with a frequently-asked-questions (FAQ) section or website page.
Whenever you can make it easier for your customers to get information, like learning more about your return or shipping policies, you’re improving your customer service.
We can all agree that nothing beats the personal experience of interacting with customers face to face, but online eCommerce stores offer small retailers an even playing field. And, with the right content writer and brand strategist, your personality can still shine through. Need help writing product descriptions, website pages, or giving your brand a voice? Let’s chat.