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Benefits of ecommerce for small businesses

GoCardless
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Last editedNov 20222 min read

The emergence of ecommerce has changed the business landscape forever, and while bricks-and-mortar shops will always have their charm, the benefits of ecommerce for small businesses are constantly expanding. 

If you own a small business and are considering whether or not to branch out into ecommerce, this guide to the advantages of ecommerce for small business should help you make up your mind.

Increase Your Reach and Revenue

Making your business available online opens up the opportunity to reach all of the potential online customers who shop on the internet. According to Statista, there were 2.14 billion online shoppers in 2021, with 86.7% of UK shoppers projected to shop online in 2022. This benefit alone is worth small firms setting up a location-independent ecommerce branch of their business.

Add in the fact that operating online lets you stay open for business 24 hours a day and seven days a week, and your revenue could increase dramatically.

Search Engine and Social Media Traffic

Your increased reach is not only the result of customers who already know you seeking you out online. You also appear in search engine results for items or services related to your business, as well as driving even more traffic to your website through social media engagement and promotion. Just look at how many social media users there are in 2022:

  • Facebook has 2.91 billion active monthly users

  • Instagram has 1.478 billion active monthly users

  • Twitter has 436 million global monetizable daily active users

Build an Online Reputation with Reviews

If you operate solely out of bricks-and-mortar premises, then any word-of-mouth praise you receive from customers is a one-and-done affair. However, online reviews and recommendations stay where they are for others to see for weeks, months and even years after the review was made. This is especially so if you offer a rating or review feature on your website following a purchase.

You can also promote your good reviews via your social media channels and customer testimonials on your website.

Lower Operational and Labour Costs

All the extra reach and new customers means more work, right? Not necessarily, as the automation and digital nature of online transactions means you have lower operational costs as well as lower labour costs. There is the upfront investment to get a good website up and running, but the customers serve themselves and pay through the website, massively reducing the amount of additional labour required to handle all your new customers.

Customer Data and Inventory Tracking

One of the huge benefits of ecommerce for small businesses is the ability to track customer data. This lets you consistently fine-tune your website and how your products are presented and promoted, to constantly improve your business brand. You can identify pain points more easily and see what promotions and ads are working well and which ones aren’t.

An ecommerce business is also able to track its inventories easily through automation, with every purchase updating the stock, so you know exactly what you need to order and when.

Customer Email Communication

Businesses in bricks-and-mortar premises are much less likely to acquire the email addresses of their customers, unless they sign up for a loyalty scheme or other such promotion. However, every purchase online requires an email address to be entered so a confirmation email can be sent with any shipping details or tracking numbers.

There should always be an opt-in box in the field where the customer enters their email which authorises further contact from the business for news and promotions. Those that opt in can then be emailed special offers and new product launch details. There are also free or paid email marketing tools which automate the process, again saving you time and energy while still gaining those benefits of ecommerce for small business.

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