We have witnessed the trend of online shopping continues to increase over the past decade. Consumer behavior has shifted and retail businesses are receiving the brunt of it. With less foot traffic in stores, some brick and mortar locations have been forced to close their doors permanently, while others have moved completely online.
The retail industry has definitely evolved since the early 2000s but no one could have predicted such a drastic, excelled switch as we have experienced this year. 2020 has brought the case for cloud-based ecommerce to the front of the line and proven the need for retail businesses to offer both retail and ecommerce options to stay competitive. That's why many companies turned to cloud computing services at last.
As the owner of a retail business, the current trends may frighten you. You may not be sure if your business model will translate online. You also may not even understand retail cloud technologies or what an ecommerce business really is! Rest assured that retail and ecommerce can coexist and that cloud technologies are not as complicated as they seem. Plus, just like you’ve hired people to support your brick and mortar store, there are professionals (like our team at RaiseTech) that specialize in transitioning to and managing cloud-based ecommerce stores (but we’ll get to that later).
First, we want you to understand that retail and ecommerce are actually not that different. You are already selling a service or product to your customers in person. By expanding into ecommerce, you will simply be selling that same thing to people digitally. And if you sell something in person, you can also sell it online.
How do we know? Retail businesses have been forced to reinvent themselves, quickly and creatively this year. Luckily, ecommerce has provided a fast opportunity for businesses to continue to thrive despite the current environment. From bringing their business fully digital to making “lite” versions of their offerings available online, we’ve witnessed firsthand what cloud computing can do for a retail business – especially in difficult times.
French supermarket Carrefour launched Carrefour Essentials as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown. This mini-site allowed shoppers to order a basket of basic items that could be delivered right to their doorstep. In California, The Shop. Laguna Beach recreated the in-store experience online by encouraging their loyal customers to schedule virtual personal shopping sessions.
Buyers could see new clothing items and accessories in real time, while also receiving personal recommendations before placing their online order.
Ecommerce may be having a “moment” due to recent stay-at-home orders and people choosing to avoid crowded public places. But even before ecommerce became a need it was definitely a want. According to a report by Statista, the leading provider of market and consumer data, global e-retail sales surpassed $3.5 trillion (USD) in 2019. They forecast that this trend won’t stop anytime soon and predict year over year growth to continue.
So why has the ecommerce of retail sales become so massive? There are a few contributing factors. First is the sheer number of digital buyers. Internet access is widely available around the globe and modern life has become highly digitalized. Then you have the desire for comparison and getting the best product or deal. With a variety of online marketplaces, it is much easier for consumers to compare products and prices online and make informed purchases than it is in person. Another huge contributor is the mobile device. Worldwide data from Statista shows that in 2019, 60% of retail website visits came from smartphones. This means that many purchases are not only happening online but right from an iPhone or Android device.
If you own a retail business, now is the perfect time to enter the ecommerce of retail sales. Specifically ensuring that you can properly serve your mobile shopper. Adopting retail cloud technologies is the best way to achieve this.
By setting up a cloud-based ecommerce store, you are able to support your business and customers in a few different ways.
If you’re now convinced of the benefits of cloud computing for consumers and business owners, your next question is likely going to be, “How do I start?” That’s a great question and we’re so excited to be a part of your retail store’s next chapter!
To transform your physical store into an online store, you first need to set a strategy. Think long and hard about your vision. Do you want to offer everything you sell in person online? Or will your online offering be slightly different than your physical presence?
It’s also important to prepare your business pre-launch. You should anticipate an increase in demand once expanding your business online and you want to be able to meet this demand in a timely manner without sacrificing quality. Don’t rush and risk falling short on your first online sales.
Once you’ve established a plan, you can focus on picking the right ecommerce platform and retail cloud technologies for your specific goals. If you’d like to discuss your options with a professional, feel free to schedule a free consultation. We’d be happy to hear more about your goals and determine if RaiseTech is the right partner to scale your business online.