importance of online shopping
The internet makes doing business much easier and faster.
It’s led to changes in the way people do business with
a rapidly growing world wide trend towards online shopping or
Online business is becoming a high income generating activity,
now taking a significant portion of GDP in many countries. This
is making our world a very small village, with distance no longer
providing a barrier. In fact, cyberspace is gaining more importance
than real world markets, with physical stores often acting only
as a shop front and the real income being generated online.
Businesses around the globe are becoming greatly attracted
towards this virtual world. There are no limits as to what and
where they can reach, the variety of products they can easily
offer, the detail and specifications they can provide and the
number of prospects and customers they can reach.
Customers and prospects like to visit online stores. They enjoy
the convenience, the speed and therefore time-saving, ease of
transport (ie delivery), the way they can compare prices and
check product reviews, the lack of pressuring by sales people
and, of course, the infinite choice. While some people use the
internet to research services products, then buy from a physical
store, many buy everything they need from online stores.
This means, for small and medium size businesses, online shopping
is assuming much greater importance and offering a wide range
When you're thinking about establishing a business online,
you first need to find the right solution. There’s a big
range, varying from a relatively simple option to one which
integrates with your whole business, your accountancy package
and your inventory system.
Whichever you choose, you will have a database which stores
information about the products and pricing, and information
about customers to enable them to login the next time they purchase
something from you. This can also be useful for email newsletter
Your online store should enable a visitor to browse products,
compare them, see the price, choose products and place them
in shopping carts, confirm the order and make payment. You should
also have access to web analytics or statistics to help you
understand what your online store visitors do and to improve
the site on a regular basis.
An online shop will attract customers as long as they can
find you – so search engine
optimisation is pretty important, as is an attractive design,
and easy navigation. And, you must be able to update the online
store as you need to.
Marketing Your Store
Remember a marketing strategy and a plan is important for whatever
e-commerce business you decide to launch.
If you were taking an overseas trip there are various questions
you’d find the answers to before you started – the
best route, how long you’ll be away, what resources you
need, where to stay, visa requirements, currency and so on.
You need to think about similar things for your online store
– so make a plan before you start!
You might think about
• your overall vision and where you want to be in five
• doing a SWOT analysis – this doesn’t need
to be long, but consider the threats (supply chain could be
one), weaknesses, strengths and opportunities (customer support).
Then focus on how you might reduce the weaknesses and increase
• reviewing your e-commerce business objectives.
• where you want the bulk of your purchasers to come from
– current customers or new segments.
• your price points – the same as competitors or
lower to steal business.
• reviewing your product strategies – supply chain,
customer support, delivery and fulfilment etc.
• developing strategies for your customer experience,
your product mix and pricing, your systems, business processes
• what will actually make your store different to the
others, where your customers are coming from and their buying
This does take a little time, but it's worth it. It generally
highlights the opportunities you should pursue and the weaknesses
you have in your business and pin points areas for improvement.
Prioritise these and they will help you reach your business
objectives and help your online business flourish!