It’s an exciting time for small business e-commerce. In the early 2000s when e-commerce began to boom large businesses had a firm advantage over the small businesses as the barriers to entry were large. Small businesses couldn’t justify a large investment in an online store that had no guarantee of success, which left the smarter large businesses to dominate the market. In 2015 however the e-commerce landscape has changed. There are e-commerce platforms such as Shopify, which enable businesses of all sizes to sell their products online for a very affordable cost. This has lowered the barrier to entry which has seen the level of competition increase year on year for any business selling online.
It has become apparent that simply opening an online store will not be enough to win at e-commerce in the future, businesses will have to successfully navigate customer service, social media, delivery and much more for their store to be successful. Here are 5 ways that small businesses can prepare their store for the future of e-commerce.
1. Mobile Ready
Mobile shopping is the highest growth area of e-commerce. In April 2015 Google released a brand new algorithm for the mobile search results that punishes websites that are not mobile ready. What this means to e-commerce store owners is that in the future websites will have a mobile first approach where the mobile user experience is as important to the desktop user experience.
2. Content Curation
Content curation is a trend that was started by large business and small business have adapted this in recent years through social media, inspiration guides and lookbooks. As people browse the web they want to discover and learn about products in interesting ways as opposed to viewing endless lists of products. Imagery on social networks such as Pinterest is the most popular way for small businesses to curate their content, but this is a trend that we will see increase in the future as small businesses fight to stand out from the crowd and provide content that will educate their audience about their products rather than hard selling.
In the future customers will no longer tolerate inefficient delivery services. Large companies such as Amazon are investing millions into their delivery efficiency, which means customers are learning to rely on this level of efficiency and if businesses can not provide an efficient delivery service they will not be able to compete. Although small businesses cannot match the same level of service they can make use of services such as NI Parcels to provide efficient and affordable delivery to customers all over the world.
4. Customer Support
Customers have short attention spans and if they encounter any problems during their buying journey they are likely to abandon their purchase. Large businesses have adapted well to this by providing live chat facilities to give instant answers to customer queries and help desks where customers can easily find answers to their queries and this these support facilities will be adapted more and more by small businesses in the future.
Online shopping personalisation is a technique used well by large e-commerce platforms such as Amazon & Ebay to increase sales by showing customers products based on their shopping basket or previous purchases. It is difficult for small businesses to adapt personalisation efficiently at present due to the cost and technical requirements. With the current rate of development of e-commerce technology this should be a feature that successful e-commerce stores will use in the future.
This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: The Future of E-commerce For Small Businesses
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