In a world where almost half the population is already using the internet and there was $279 billion of spending in online shopping during 2015 in the US alone, it makes you wonder why many small businesses are still not on board with having an eCommerce site.
A study by SurePayroll shows that despite 72% of businesses having a company website, only 26% of those are using their site for eCommerce. This means that most small businesses use their site only as an information hub or gateway for online users to discover their business instead of allowing users to directly buy their products or services online.
Of the 74% of small businesses without eCommerce, only 12% are looking to include it in their site. Even though most small businesses will agree that having a website and an online presence is important, many entrepreneurs still shy away from the eCommerce trend for fear that it may be too time-consuming and costly to tackle.
In the study conducted by SurePayroll, 52% of small businesses said they hired a third party to create their website, 20% said they hired a freelancer, while 11% created their own website with the knowledge they have about web design/development. Given these numbers, it's safe to say that cost and lack of technical know-how could be two of the biggest factors that's keeping businesses from building a sales platform.
Despite the perceived technical difficulty and financial challenges of building an eCommerce site, what many small business owners fail to look at is the amount of money they are losing to other online stores simply because they haven't made their products and services available to their customers online yet.
Sales from eCommerce are increasing year after year as more people demand easier access to products and services with a majority of them doing it on their mobile phones. If customers can't get what they're looking for on your site, they're going to look for it elsewhere - a scenario you want to avoid at all cost.
It's important to get over your fears for building an eCommerce site as early as now and jump the water while there are still many opportunities in the online space. Here are some tips to get you started:
- Check page load time
Site speed is very important in retaining customers in your site. If it takes more than three seconds to load, your customer will likely leave your site and go somewhere else. You may need to hire a web developer to fix your site so it loads faster.
- Optimize your site for mobile use
More than 70% of customers will make a purchase using their mobile phone. This means you could be losing a large portion of your market if your eCommerce site is not mobile- friendly. Be sure to optimize your site for mobile use or better yet, adopt a responsive theme for your site so it's compatible with any device no matter the size.
- Write a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Page
In your FAQ section, be sure to address common queries like product features, sizing, product returns, payment options, etc. This saves you time as you don't need to deal with customer concerns individually.
- Display customer reviews
Make it easy for your customers to provide feedback about your products by creating a general review section on your site or an individual section for each product page. Customers are more likely to trust your site when there are reviews to base their purchase decisions on. It's also a great way to gain insight on what your customers like and don't like.
- Make the checkout process easy
Don't give your customer any reason to abandon their cart during the checkout process. If your payment process is too complicated, you're losing a lifetime of potential revenue. Make your checkout process is fast, easy and secure.
Don't let your fear of not knowing how to build an eCommerce site get in the way of your business flourishing. Invest in building your eCommerce site today and enjoy the benefits that your online sales will bring you tomorrow.