The importance of an online presence in retail

Nowadays almost every area of life has a digital element to it and this is a particularly important fact to consider when it comes to your retail store. Recent research by Google found that shoppers are using their online capabilities more and more and the past few years have seen an extraordinary growth of online sales with 70% of consumers preferred to do their retail shopping online in 2013.

Online shopping offers many advantages to the consumer, including incredible convenience, easy access to price comparisons and consumer reviews, infinite choice and no pressure sales. As consumers’ confidence in buying online grows so are the gross sales as they start to make the move from smaller, less expensive items like music and movies to more substantial and expensive purchases like furniture and appliances. Last year, online retail sales reached a staggering £56 billion and according to retail observers IMRG and Capgemini they are predicted to grow by 110% in the next decade.

Three of the top ways a potential consumer researches a product before buying are online search, going in-store and viewing the retailer website and Googles research showed that 93% of mobile phone searches resulted in a purchase being made. It makes sense then – if the vast majority of your potential customers are online, then you should be too. If you want your business to measure up to your competition, it is essential that you maintain a strong, up-to-date online presence to help reinforce your brand and show what you have to offer to your target market.

The Google report also found that 97% of consumers use the web to search for local businesses, the power of the internet cannot be overlooked – all businesses should have a website. Having a strong online presence should be a crucial component of your marketing strategy, no matter what size your business is or what industry it belongs to. It doesn’t need to be “all singing, all dancing”, but it should contain all the fundamental information existing and potential customers may need like opening hours, location and contact information.

All retail stores need to have an online shop facility. The benefits of being able to offer your customers the ability to view, compare, order and pay for the items they want any time of day or night can only boost your sales. An online store will also have an expanded geographical reach and a broader potential customer base. It will not only increase visibility for your business but will allow you to target your products and services at specific groups based on buying data and algorithms.

If you haven’t already taken advantage of the potential that the internet has for your business growth there are many ways to create and maintain a strong online retail presence. Using an intuitive third party shopping cart site builder, such as Saphirea, is the easiest and simplest way to go about it. These builders contain preprogrammed software which is straightforward to use for both your business and the consumer. You can easily select product categories to display, add menu items, create pages and write content for your site.

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