In the current world state, with the impact of coronavirus on all types of large and small brick-and-mortar businesses across the world, putting a focus on e-commerce has never been more essential. An unprecedented number of small businesses have closed forever as a result of the pandemic and many more are on their way there. The need to take at least a portion of your business online, reach a wider audience, and be able to pivot your sales strategy to fit the condition of the world is clear.
According to an article by Business Insider: The 77 million people that make up the US small business workforce would rank as the 17th most populous country in the world, just ahead of Iran. This means entrepreneurs like you can’t afford to have to continue to close your doors because oftentimes there is more at stake then just your business.
That’s why it’s important to shift to an e-commerce mindset, and see how you can make this trend and the changes our economy has seen due to the pandemic work for you.
The Lay of the Business Landscape
Over 100,000 small businesses have closed forever due to the pandemic. And more are closing every day.
For the businesses that are still afloat for now, the money from PPP and EIDL loans is running out fast and there does not seem to be additional relief coming from the government to help bolster the small business economy that accounts for the 28 million small businesses in the US that outnumber corporations 1162 to 1.
Without a viable cash flow that can withstand not only a possible second-round of quarantine, but consumers’ shift in buying mindset, the future for small business is set to be grim.
This is where shifting to an e-commerce mindset can set you apart from the hundreds of thousands of other businesses that are in jeopardy.
E-commerce is not a one-size fits all solution for every business that’s been affected by the coronavirus. It’s not going to save every business in every situation. But it does give you and the people that rely on your business a fighting chance at recovery.
For example, it’s a given that the e-commerce businesses that sell essential products such as groceries and home goods are booming right now. However, we also see in our online TSP community that many small businesses that sell health and luxury products, services and more are also seeing a surge in business due to the shift in buyer’s mindsets as a result of quarantine.
People who may not have been willing to shop online before have been almost forced to do so for essentials, like ordering groceries vs. buying them in the store. It’s become commonplace to order clothes online instead of going to the mall and browsing for perfumes and hair care on e-commerce sites rather than go into a beauty supply store.
In the long term, this shift in mindset is likely going to produce a steady increase in the viability of e-commerce as a revenue source for not only small businesses but large corporations as well. This could mean a shift from 3rd-party retailers like Amazon and Walmart as businesses start to list their products on their own websites–which ultimately would normalize online shopping even more than it has been in the past.
The Future of E-Commerce
The e-commerce landscape is constantly changing and evolving, making them more popular even in isolation of the events of the recent pandemic. In 2020, several trends were identified for the future of the online retail industry that set it up for continued growth.
Several of these trends are outlined in a blog by Bigcommerse that was released earlier this year. For example:
Augmented reality is allowing people to see products in realtime and even preview them in their daily life; like Amazon’s “Show in My Room” feature. Big data is allowing e-commerce platforms to offer more personalized experiences to entrepreneurs and their customers in order to simulate the brick and mortar shopping experience.
Additionally, in the United States it’s estimated that more than half of customers shop using mobile devices and in Europe, 55% of customers are shopping on mobile. The convenience of being able to browse and shop from anywhere in the world is taking over the retail industry. As quality increases, websites become more responsive and more secure mobile payment processing, these numbers will only increase as time goes on.
We all know that if content is king, then video is queen and this is true of the ecommerce industry as well. Customers respond to video, it’s a commonly known fact. According to another Bigcommerse study In 2019, video was shown to increase conversion rates with 62% of consumers saying they watch product reviews before making a purchase.
All of these trends, including the dozens of others reported by other industry experts, speak to the viability of the platform as time goes on. The age of digital is not slowing down in the slightest, nor is the growth in businesses that utilize e-commerce platforms.
Though the practice is not new, you can still jump ahead of the curve and start integrating some form of e-commerce strategy in your overall business to take advantage of of not only the current growth trends, but create a more flexible cash flow avenue that can help you withstand additional hardships should they come this year or in the future!
Though e-commerce may not be the solution to all your covid-19 induced problems, adopting an online retail strategy could help to diversify your businesses’ cash flow so you have another opportunity to stay afloat.
Not only is it a viable avenue to combat physical stores closing and having to operate at limited capacity, the e-commerce landscape is continuously changing and emerging as the prefered method of shopping for an increasing number of consumers in the US and all over the world.
Integrating an ecommerce element to your business could be just what you need to break away from the hardship of current times and see the growth that you’ve been searching for without having to rely on uncertain government money.
Even though the events of the pandemic, e-commerce may emerge as one of the more profitable areas of your business! The barrier to entry is low, there are tons of resources to help you get started with platforms like Shopify, Bigcommerce or even Amazon!
While you’re here, make sure to check out our other articles on how you can crush the e-commerce game on the TSP Blog!
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