Today through the internet, the smallest retailer can compete against the largest companies with a well-planned marketing strategy. The ability to reach the same consumer base and advancements in technology give mom & pop retailers the ability to complete on an even playing field. Social media platforms are taking grass-roots and word-of-mouth advertising into the digital age capable of producing instant results. You can make a strong case that having a quality website is the most important aspect of your business in today’s marketplace. Regardless of your position, there are some interesting facts you should know about the relationship of the internet, e-commerce, and thriving businesses of the 21st Century.
The Digital Influence on Retail
A recent study by Deloitte Digital found that digital interactions influenced 64 cents of every dollar spent at a U.S. retail store, both online and off, in 2015 to the tune of $2.2 trillion. If that wasn’t a staggering enough amount, Deloitte projects that by 2018, 90% of all purchases will be influenced by digital interactions that range from pop-up advertisements to independent social media posts. Another collaborative study reported that an incredible 97% of consumers used online media for research before making a trip to a local brick and mortar business.
The results of this study are significant to businesses that have traditionally earned the bulk of their income through storefront purchases. This means that the moniker location, location, location no longer carries the weight it once did in the decision-making process. In the past, the yellow pages would drive people into stores and today people type a few choice words into their favorite search engine to find out where and how to get what they need. If you still don’t think e-commerce carries that much of an influence; consider the following research in buying decision influencers:
- 61% influenced by an online review from someone within their social media circle
- 50% influenced by an online review from someone they don’t know
- 43% influenced by a reseller or channel partner website
- 42% influenced by the manufacturer, vendor, or merchant’s website
Having your business online and readily available online with a nice website that functions well and evokes your brand and details with the ability to connect socially will absolutely boost your chances of being found and utilized by new or repeat customers.
The Move from Greenbacks to Digital Bucks
All of these online interactions are influencing what a consumer buys, where they buy it, and when they buy it. This conditioning has set the bar of consumer expectations relatively high as they seek greater shopping convenience, better choices, and an overall higher quality shopping experience from the privacy of their home or sanctuary of their portable device; where they will research, find, and purchase the products and services they want or need with a few clicks of button. Effective e-commerce solutions can enable your business to grow and scale to meet new market demands by introducing different sales channels or improving existing ones and the internet enables consumers to have direct access points like never before.
As technology continues to influence and simplify the way people interact with one another; it will inevitably become commonplace for conducting commerce and ultimately connect buyers to retailers in so intimate a fashion that shopping experiences will feel tailored to an individual. One of the best companies to exhibit this behavior is Disney. From the moment you purchase a vacation they immerse you in a brand and experience that is uniquely spread throughout their e-commerce and retail channels and is only amplified by the personnel they hire. They’ve mastered the ability to connect through the internet and intertwine the technologies of today with the nostalgic fun of yesteryear. They have mastered bringing the Disney experience into your home through various online marketing mediums and that translates into tremendous online sales.
Some of the greatest financial minds will tell you the only way to run a business is by the numbers. You may be able to debate that but there is no denying the numbers surrounding the year over year increase in e-commerce usage by consumers. Many businesses have been the example of what happens when you don’t embrace technology and change. A popular example would be the downfall of Blockbuster Video with the rise of Netflix. At the end of the day, you need to do what you believe is best for your business or maybe go by the age-old adage, “If you can’t beat them, join them.”