It’s hard to believe, but almost half of all small retail businesses do not have a website. Perhaps there is a concern over cost and budget, or they question the necessity of selling their products online. But here are 5 compelling reasons why a brick and mortar store needs an e-commerce website:
1. Consumers Dictate that E-Commerce and Retail Stores Need to Be Complementary
Today’s consumer expects a seamless experience across multiple devices (smartphone, tablet, etc.) and channels (online and in-store). Recent data shows that consumers often use both online and traditional retail stores when making a purchase. For example, some consumers prefer to browse online from the comfort of their home or office prior to going into a store to make a purchase. Others need to see and feel a product in a store, and if they don’t purchase it on the spot, may do so later online.
Despite this, over 50% of companies have no cross-channels in place, according to a recent study conducted by Bazaarvoice. E-commerce improves the brick and mortar experience for the consumer, thus retailers should extend their channels to include online shopping via their website as well.
2. A Website Attracts Local Customers to Your Store
If your business relies primarily on local pedestrian traffic, you may wonder why you would need an e-commerce website. But a recent study showed that 97% of internet users search online to find local businesses or products. Having an e-commerce website will place your products right in front of them – and if they find what they want, prompting them to go to your store to purchase, or giving them the ability to purchase online.
3. Website Content Drives Retail Traffic and Sales
An e-commerce website can provide detailed product descriptions, photos, videos, and reviews to educate the consumer. Websites can also recommend similar or complementary products based on the user’s browsing history.
According to a recent survey conducted by Bazaarvoice, 82% of shoppers conduct research using their mobile phones while in the store before making a purchase. Another study by TimeTrade noted that 85% of consumers still prefer to shop at local stores vs. online. So for consumers that research products online but prefer to purchase them in-store, rich website content provides a better in-store shopping experience. E-commerce websites aren’t just for online sales – they can also drive business to your brick and mortar store.
4. Store Pickup
Most of the major retailers, such as Walmart and Target, offer the convenience of ‘ship to store’ or ‘store pickup’. This is a service that consumers expect, and can also benefit retailers.
Consumers like this service because:
- they value the convenience of fast pickup
- they avoid shipping charges
- busy consumers can easily shop from their phones, avoiding lines and crowds
Retailers like this service because:
- it can reduce fulfillment costs by not having to ship the product(s)
- reduces shipping liability and responsibility
5. Servicing the Seasonal Population
If you live in an area with a seasonal population, having an e-commerce store allows your customers to continue to shop and buy even when they are away for part of the year. They may already know the brands you offer and their sizes in those brands – they don’t need to try them on. Or they are familiar with the quality of the products you sell – they don’t need to feel them or see them in person. E-commerce websites allow you to continue to service and sell to these loyal customers, even if they are away for the season.
Online and offline shoppers were once thought of as two different segments. As you can see, this is no longer the case – they depend on each other to complete a single transaction. Brick and mortar stores that invest in creating a seamless shopping experience with online stores will better serve their customers, and expand their potential to increase sales.
At Studio 239 Design, we can help you get your online store up and running in a few short weeks. And despite what you may think, e-commerce stores can be affordable and within budget. Contact us today for more information.