In today’s world, more and more people turn to online retailers and websites for all of their shopping needs. From holidays to birthday, big-ticket items to daily household products, people are flocking to the web for everything in sight. In fact, online shopping has gone up from 19% to 30% of consumers ordering online daily. With this shift in shopping trends, it should come as no surprise that retailers must shift their marketing for optimization.
Online Retail Implications
With the growth in online retail shopping, more and more small businesses need to concentrate on their online reputation and marketplace. Unless the physical storefront of a small business is extremely successful, the majority of a business’s focus may need to rest in a great online experience. Without a total package to offer, a small business may lose its ground in a quickly changing retail world.
Sometimes the lack of an online storefront, or a subpar availability to shop online, can even cause problems for a small business. Many times, consumers will check out a small business or a ‘locally owned’ shop online before deciding to make a trip to see the store itself. If the online presence of the company just doesn’t cut it, then consumers may be quick to mark the business off the list.
What all this means is that small businesses are needing to invest more in their online marketability and how they conduct their day to day business. This includes shipping options for those who may not have shipped to the customer before. This could also mean offering preordering options when a business would typically only sell what would be in stock for a physical location. You should considered all of these factors when creating an online presence to keep up with the technical business world.
The Online Shopping Experience
The downside to online shopping is how easily it can make or break a business. For small businesses, this can be incredibly critical for the long-term success of the business. One bad experience can cause a severe blow to one’s reputation, despite having a good repertoire otherwise. Sometimes, a single bad online shopping trip can ruin a business.
With the world living through social media, it goes without question that consumers will rant or rave about a business using social platforms. If they have an easy going and great experience, they may or may not leave a good review and this helps boost your company a little. If someone has a bad experience, they are far more likely to voice this online, causing a far larger amount of harm to a business’s reputation than
Post Purchase Issues and How to Address Them
Most online purchases issues come after the purchase is made. Most of the time consumers have no complaints about the process of finding an item they want and buying it. Odds are their problems come the minute after the ‘submit order’ button is pressed. These issues range from untimely delivery, costly shipping, and lost items, to name a few. Small businesses especially have to think ahead to try to navigate around the potential for these problems.
Shipping will likely forever be a sticky subject when it comes to online retailing. Simply put, shipping can be costly. The consumer wants to pay as little to nothing for shipping as they can, and they want their orders to be delivered yesterday. This is just the ugly truth to the mindset today’s consumers have. Many customers can be turned away if they deem shipping costs to be too high or if the expected turnaround time isn’t short enough for their needs.
In fact, 90% of consumers are likely to change their mind about an online purchase if they feel the shipping options are not cheap or fast enough.
Contributing to the dissatisfcation with shipping costs and convenience are the well-know subscriptuon boxes. In a Pitney Bowes study on e-commerce, they found,
“27% of online shoppers are subscribed to at least one such service, including 51% of millennials and 47% of households with children.”
We all know the boxes, from Birch Box to Bark Box, we can subscribe to anything from clothes, to makeup to dog food. So, how will small businesses cope?
The problem for small businesses lies in capital. As in there may not be enough of it to back the company providing cheap or free shipping options. There has to be a balance for the small businesses to continue to profit and grow from offering an online retail experience, but this can sometimes be difficult to find. One possible solution could be to eliminate a physical storefront. If there is a promise for success by switching to an exclusively online business, as long as the kinks are all smoothed out, then it could be wise to lose the overhead costs of a physical store to opt for building up the online experience.