The impact of e-commerce is changing the way we relate to public businesses and services in unprecedented ways. Nowadays, 75% of internet users make purchases online at least once a month. 25% of the global population frequently access online shopping in a market that amounts to over $3.5 trillion yearly revenue. While traditional store-fronts and physical locations still represent unique value to customers, augmenting these services wherever possible with a streamlined online presence is becoming a crucial determining factor in the ongoing survival and growth of many sectors. With the onset of a new decade, these trends have only accelerated.
While small retail outlets and businesses actually stand to benefit from the decentralization an online operation brings, larger department stores are caught awkwardly between two worlds, with shopping mall closures becoming a regular occurrence and retailers of a certain size coming under pressure to compete against the likes of Amazon or Walmart. Even the restaurant industry is adapting in response to the rise in popularity of meal delivery apps such as UberEats and Deliveroo, with some franchises converting their operations to cater exclusively to sales through these platforms and doing away with customer-facing shop-fronts.
Another sector that has adapted well to the digital revolution is the gaming industry. The total market value of the global gaming industry is worth over $227 billion and the share of this revenue derived from online ventures grows year on year. This is being achieved through a combination of factors. One crucial element is the near ubiquity of smart devices and stable internet connections in the modern world. Another is through offering bespoke features such as free spins and sign-up bonuses on online versions of popular casino games. This has enabled the industry to successfully expand into demographics and geographical regions where traditional physical gaming has failed to reach. Increasingly young professionals who have little time to dedicate to holidaying in gaming hot-spots are accessing these services as an integrated part of their lifestyle.
Below are some effective steps any business can take to orient themselves for this global market adjustment:
Streamline your transaction process
There are now a host of different e-commerce platforms that make consumer facing transactions simpler than ever. Most website toolkits, such as Wix, Squarespace or WordPress, include their own custom payment plugins that support secure transactions for all major credit and debit cards, though the most comprehensive option available today is Shopify. The tech start-up now caters to the needs of 3.6 million different online stores as of 2021. Their straight forward point-of-sale process generates a shopping cart for your website with minimal effort. Shopify also features comprehensive data on marketing, shipping and customer engagement to give you accurate feedback on your sales.
With around 25 million e-commerce businesses currently operating on the internet today, discoverability can be the chief obstacle for an online business. The modern internet is more centralized than ever before, with the overwhelming majority of web traffic directed to search engines like Google and Yahoo and social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. This makes it very important to set up social media profiles as digital store-fronts on all major social networks to direct back to your website. It is also possible to process transactions from directly within some of these platforms, but one has to bear in mind doing so will incur service fees. Another valuable thing to consider is that, with Facebook alone having marketing data on 2.8 billion users, paying for targeted adverts on these platforms is by far the most efficient and effective way to connect you with new customers.
Ensuring your branding is consistent and recognizable is hardly a new idea, but on the internet with so many competitors and potential customers, it can be a decisive factor in the success of your business. Getting this right also sends a message to your potential customers that your operation is professional. For example, hosting a custom domain name is far superior to relying on a free website tool and its corresponding domain structure. Your web address is your store-front, so securing a strong website address such as a .com or regional variant has a tangible impact on how your business is received. Equally, managing email communications through a bespoke email domain is far superior to resorting to a Gmail or Outlook.com address. Using consistent branding across platforms also benefits the quality of your SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, which dictates how highly ranked you are on search engines like Google in your product or business category.