Speaking to The New York Times about Farfetch.com, his fashion retail site that has over $100 million in revenue in its seventh year of business, Jose Neves speaks to current customer demand for ecommerce:
“For millennial customers it’s beyond comprehension that’s there’s something available in a physical store that’s not available online. They just don’t get it. It’s like an artist who releases an album but they cannot download it from iTunes.”
Once pleasantly surprised to find an online presence for their favorite brand, customers now expect to find whatever they need online and will simply spend their dollars elsewhere if it can’t be found.
Canadian consumers are expected to spend nearly $39.9 billion online in 2019. That’s 10 percent of total consumer spending, up from 6 percent in 2014.
But intertwined with the obvious financial benefits, are a host of other advantages that ecommerce brings to businesses:
1. Larger geographical presence
While not all ecommerce sites offer international shopping/shipping, the ability to reach even a fraction of a larger audience than your local market is a clear benefit. Serving customers beyond the boundaries of your brick-and-mortar presence is bound to bring increased revenues. Fashiontruck Canada, for example, is soon establishing an ecommerce site in response to an outpouring of demand for shipping to those that cannot visit the mobile fashion store. There is a great deal of support nowadays that has simplified the process of setting up an ecommerce site and removed many of the barriers to adoption.
2. Infinite availability
Without needing to hire employees for night shifts, your business can be open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Customers love the convenience of your business being “always available,” and this will likely increase sales.
3. Unlimited information sharing
Your ecommerce site can provide as much information as you want, from product descriptions to customer reviews to shipping charges. Customers can choose to access whatever information they want, without taking valuable time away from your business.
4. Lower costs
Digitization of your business can drastically lower costs. Whether you already have an existing brick-and-mortar location or not, ecommerce is a cost-effective selling model either way. Automating checkout, billing, payments, inventory management, and other operational processes is cost-effective. Not to mention, real estate and employee expenses are eliminated.
5. Increased brand awareness
While physical businesses are driven by marketing, advertising and partnerships, ecommerce is driven by search engines and keyword optimization. Linking ecommerce to other social networking sites will further boost awareness of your brand and can sometimes offer immeasurable marketing opportunities. Rapper Dr. Dre and his headphone brand "Beats" proved the power of social media early on, leveraging YouTube and Twitter to build the popular brand name into what it is today.
As Farfetch.com founder Neves points out, not pursuing the route of ecommerce is now a missed opportunity for many businesses.
“If you have a store in, say, Dallas or in Chicago, you only have your own local clientele. That clientele is not shopping online as well. This is a huge missed opportunity. These boutiques in these places don’t appeal to the customer just in Chicago or Miami. They appeal to a global audience these days.”
Whether you are starting a new venture, or expanding your existing business to include an online presence, welcome to the world of online selling. But where do you begin? Download our free Online Selling eBook.
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