In these uncertain times… Wait, scratch that. Now, more than ever… Whoa, hold on. It seems I’ve been watching too much television lately. Case in point: https://youtu.be/vM3J9jDoaTA
OK, here’s my reboot. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, which probably isn’t a bad thing, you are more than well aware of COVID-19 and are under government-mandated lockdown right now. In Tennessee, we are seeing light at the end of the tunnel with a limited lifting of the stay-at-home order happening on May 1st. Yay! The truth is, it will be the people like you and me who will decide when it is OK to go back to restaurants, sporting events, and anywhere else large groups of our fellow humans congregate. We don’t know when this will happen exactly so let’s talk about what we can do in the meantime.
The Top 5 Reasons You Need E-commerce
I may come off as an opportunist at the moment, but I have to take that risk. We can’t stop doing business forever and I have decided it is time to lay down the wisdom of having an e-commerce presence for your business. Whether you are a small business or large, you sell a service or a product, or a wholesaler that simply needs to get a catalog out there, you need an e-commerce presence much like you need a video conferencing software such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams. So, with no further ado, here are my top 5 reasons you need e-commerce right now:
- Continue doing business during “uncertain times”.
Yes, I said it. Someone has to. Ask yourself this: what would it have been like if you had an established e-commerce presence before the pandemic hit? Perhaps things would be less uncertain, and you would have continued to sell your product or service. Businesses such as restaurants, liquor stores, and small grocery stores would be greatly served by having an online ordering system for curbside pickup.
- Buying online is continuing to grow and is still a huge opportunity.
“But Scott, Amazon has a stranglehold on everything!” You can look at it this way, but Amazon can’t handle it all especially niche products and local services. In 2019, e-commerce sales grew by 14.9%. 2020 will probably be double that and it won’t go down. You need a piece of this pie!
- Mobile shopping continues to grow
Make no mistake, eventually, web traffic will be 80% mobile users depending on the industry you’re in. For some, those numbers are already there. Many consumers only access the web via their mobile phones and that is it. They pay their bills online, order food delivery, set appointments and pay for them (think lawn care or pest control), and anything else they can do to cut down on the friction of paying bills and, at this moment, stay socially distanced. In 2019, Cyber Monday notched a total of $9.2 billion in sales, according to Adobe Analytics, a spike of nearly 17% over last year. Shopping on smartphones accounted for 33% of those sales, an increase of 46% compared on the same day in 2018. You can count on that number being higher in 2020.
- Stay open 24/7/365
This one is obvious yet important. A well-oiled e-commerce site never sleeps. It will work weekends, holidays, nights, all while you are doing other things.
- Customer Convenience
One of the e-commerce lessons I have learned from the pandemic is many small and large businesses adapted to social distancing requirements very quickly. Fast food restaurants such as Wendy’s now offer online ordering for pick-up and delivery. Smaller restaurants like Calhoun’s in Knoxville, Tennessee adapted by pumping up their already successful curbside pickup. Convenience stores adjusted their websites for online ordering and curbside pickup.
Your customers want to buy from you the way they want to rather than how you want them to. Unfortunately, the novel CORONA-19 virus will be haunting us for the next several months and maybe even years. I hope not. Regardless, if you plan on being in business for the “new normal” e-commerce is not an option anymore – it is a requirement.