eCommerce is transforming trade. Currently, eCommerce comprises around 12% of the world goods trade and it’s increasing annually. There is powerful growth potential in some populations segments. In India, only 15% of residents have internet access. Customer access will grow as telecommunication availability expands.
Online business platforms are allowing new entrants to enter, compete and succeed in the global marketplace. This effect is especially prominent amongst women, young people and rural workers, who are historically under-emphasised in international trade.
Less developed countries have great potential to benefit from eCommerce. eCommerce allows business to overcome infrastructure issues, and in many places, consumers rely heavily on internet businesses for livelihoods.
Being online is smart
The web allows SMEs to sell quality products and deliver them quickly and cost-effectively around the globe. Surveys show businesses do better on the Internet. SMEs with an active online presence have nearly 40% higher revenue growth than offline SMEs. SMEs with biggest growth prospects are both online and exporting, and for those SMEs, almost half of all sales came through Internet channels. Software or web platforms can help with stock control and managing ordering costs.
As well as being good for business, embracing eCommerce offers a few other key benefits:
Size doesn’t matter online; small can compete with large. You can develop and effective and professional Internet presence, regardless of how niche or compact your enterprise is.
Scale up and business development
Your online platform allows great opportunities to scale your business within your own country and around the world. You are not constrained by a shop floor or shelf-space or access to customers in your immediate locale.
Without the need for a physical location, employees to stack shelves, or handle billing, your eCommerce-friendly business is a lot leaner and efficient than traditional businesses and you can keep ordering costs down.
Access anytime, anywhere
Your prospective customers can shop when they want to, from wherever they are, and from any device. This allows them to take charge of their needs and to compare ordering costs across businesses.
Tips for success
Whether you are looking to move online or already have an established site, your business will need to carefully manage the following aspects of your Internet presence:
- Ensure you have a professionally presented and visually aesthetic site
- Host only well-written and well-presented content and images. This material should comprehensively showcase your products and inventory catalogue
- Have your descriptive material optimised for search engine consumption. Internet searches are the lifeblood of your eCommerce business
- Be responsive to the queries of potential customers. The online world moves fast and customers may simply move on to a different site if you are slow to respond
- Respect your customers’ security and privacy by having a secure payment system
Don’t be afraid to get professional support where you need to in order to maximise the chances of online success. Pay attention to stock control and be aware that some businesses and products are not well-suited to eCommerce.
Article by Melanie Chan in collaboration with our team of Unleashed Software inventory and business specialists. Melanie has been writing about inventory management for the past three years. When not writing about inventory management, you can find her eating her way through Auckland.