Since 2008, online retail sales have grown at more than double the pace of traditional retail sales, and ecommerce retailers are quickly posing a threat to in-store retailers’ market share. With online retail stores growing at such a fast pace, it gives huge opportunities for those who have a clear vision and stay ahead of the curve. Understanding some of the misconceptions that come with owning an online retail store could help give your business a competitive edge and the ability to succeed in the digital marketplace.
Small businesses can’t compete with the big guys
One of the great things about owning an online retail store is the ability to find your own niche and path to success. Huffington Post writer, Ian Mills, recommends that small business owners should look into making a positive customer experience by having curated content that’s personalized for their customer base. It’s important to know your customer and to understand what might influence them to make a purchase. By personalizing content whether it’s in a blog post or digital magazine, it could help influence an initial purchase and establish customer loyalty for future sales.
If you build it, they will come…
The days of creating an online retail store and putting up a few product links and a shopping cart are as ancient history as snap bracelets and your AOL dialup trial CD-ROM. In order to succeed, your company needs to be meaningfully different from other businesses. Make sure to find something that separates your business from competitors, whether it’s in your products, marketing, or the customer experience.
Social media isn’t important
Being involved with social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.) gives you another outlet to bring traffic to your online retail store. Social media outlets give you the opportunity to get your customers’ real-time feedback, introduce new products, or advertise any upcoming sales. According to The Nielsen Company, globally 46 percent of Internet users have used social media to help make a decision on a purchase. One of the best parts of social media is that, for the most part, they are free yet powerful platforms to use as a resource for your online retail store.
Mobile isn’t that important
In 2013, fashion retailer Nordstrom estimated that 25% of all online shopping today is done with mobile phones. Forbes writer Walter Loeb also believes that mobile phone sales could total up to 30% of Internet sales and up to 40% in the next five years. Matt Dusig, co-founder and CEO of uSamp, said “We recognize that mobile consumerism is on the rise, and it’s important for companies to learn where, why, and how their audiences are making their buying decisions.” With the steady increase of customers using mobile devices to make online purchases, it’s important to consider mobile in your company’s business strategies.
Women are more likely to do mobile shopping over men
A recent study by market research firm uSamp found that men 45% of men have made a purchase using mobile devices while only 34% of females had. Men were more likely to use mobile devices to purchase electronics, movie and event tickets, food and drinks while women are more likely to purchase health and beauty items. It’s important to realize what markets you should be targeting based on your company’s products and to adjust accordingly.
There are a lot of misconceptions about owning an online retail store. By taking some of these recommendations, you’ll increase your chances of success as an online retail store owner. By remembering to look into the future and understanding your customers, you’ll be able to better establish a relationship with your customers and succeed as an online business owner.
Scott Nash has been involved in the communications field for the past several years with an emphasis in public relations. He is currently attending Brigham Young University for his Master's degree in Mass Communications. Scott is from Little Chute, WI and has lived in Utah for the past 6 years. In his free time he enjoys watching TV and movies, following the NFL, and running. Follow him on Twitter at thesmash.