According to the US Census Bureau, e-commerce sales are now accounted for almost 10% of total retail sales.In spite of solid expected growth, SMBs still struggle to compete with big players mainly on their prices and their inventory levels. However, this should not be a dead-end for small and medium businesses and cause them to give up with e-commerce, and they should, instead, focussing on crafting a sustainable SMB e-commerce strategy.
The shockingly high number of SMBs still lack their website. However, from this fact, we can not reach to a straight conclusion that they are not active in e-commerce at all. Marketplaces like eBay and Amazon let SMBs leverage e-commerce, in their big branding shadow, even if those businesses do not have their domain hosting their independently running webshop.
Such an SMB e-commerce strategy might be logical and more effective for some businesses to drive online revenues rather than building up their branding under their website. A study conducted by PwC showed that nearly half of the online shoppers named Amazon as their favorite online retailer and more than 10% named eBay as such. From the performance perspective, these two giant marketplaces drive around 30% of the total e-commerce website traffic.
Offline presence through physical shops may also have an impact on online sales, from an omnichannel perspective, but this is not expected to be a substantial level consider small and medium businesses. The more common customer journey in e-commerce is mind, one would expect the other way around, i.e. online presence, therefore research, would lead to offline sales.
Webrooming, is actually where the big opportunity lies for SMB retailers when we consider that 70% of shoppers engage with that particular activity within the journey leading to a purchase. Therefore, small and medium businesses should better focus and building an online presence to make sure that their customers can find their products online.
Nowadays, we are also hearing the phrase “Buy Button” quite a lot. Many social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. or search engines provided such integrations which led to its more widespread use and this trend is quite likely to have a positive impact on the sales numbers of SMBs as well. In essence, the idea here is to enable more purchase moment or shopping touch-points.
Online presence is more of crafting experience to fulfill the need of shoppers finding what they are looking for, online. The online attention span of consumers is quite fragmented today, so the SMBs should be monitoring those diversified channels where shopper browse online closely and make sure that they integrate their product information across those channels like Amazon, eBay, Google Shopping and more.
With that (being findable online) in mind, small and medium service-oriented businesses might also think similarly. The key for SMBs here is to be discoverable online, as that’s the common way of discovering in today’s world.
In short, there are many opportunities for SMBs to dive into e-commerce, and leverage it to the full extent. And the focal point of an SMB e-commerce strategy is to prioritize existing and opening up a shop where their customers are, and that’s quite clear the internet. – either on desktop or mobile or whatever the bright future of e-commerce will bring.