With the UK still trying to recover from the recession, the high street is taking time to claw back customers and continue successful trading. It comes as no surprise then that we find more businesses popping up online and moving their bricks and mortar stores into a purely targeted web space.
However, with greater awareness surrounding online security, people are much less concerned about buying online when they see trust badges and security certificates displayed on an ecommerce website. Many reputable eCommerce businesses use security IT to ensure that they are operating in the safest way possible.
UK online sales are growing; in 2011 it peaked at £27 billion, whilst at the same time, reports also showed that approximately 14% of UK high street shops stood empty. If businesses are struggling on the high street, online is the place to be. Traditional shop owners will continue to support the high street and it’s essential for a healthy economy to keep high street businesses buoyant. However, moving your shop online could support your high street sales and open up your shop to a new market of customers; an essential ingredient if businesses are to stay afloat.
If you decide to move solely to an ecommerce store as opposed to a bricks and mortar store, your overheads will be greatly reduced which will allow you to invest more in the online business. High street overheads include the lease, inventory, taxes and bills.
Attract a larger market
With a bricks and mortar store, the market reach is much smaller than if you have an online presence. With online commerce, you can adopt SEO strategies to increase your visibility and potentially attract a healthy target market. An estimated 79% of the UK population now use the Internet, with fewer heading out onto the high street. Plus, with an online store, you can promote the ‘always open’ benefit. When a high street shop closes overnight, having an online business means you can make sales even when you’re fast asleep!
Attract the ‘deal hunters’
Those people that still head to the high street for a browse are also considering their purchases more before handing their money over, which is why there are a lot of shoppers that go home after a browse and start price-checking online to ensure they can’t get the product cheaper. Inevitably though, the price online often does come out greatly cheaper than on the high street. This Daily Mail article proved just how much online shoppers can save when shopping online; why not make your business one than can snap up the deal hunters.
Online trust and loyalty is increasing
There used to be fears of security compromises when buying online, particularly with the older generation who were concerned about inputting their card details through an online transaction. However, with greater awareness surrounding online security, people are much less concerned about buying online when they see trust badges and security certificates displayed on an ecommerce website. Plus, you can easily generate brand loyalty online, as you have offline, with some ‘online only’ discount offers and email newsletters.
Understand your target market better
Purely offline stores struggle to know who their core market is when people come into the store to buy. However, with online, you can use advanced analytics tracking to ascertain the type of customer visiting your site, allowing you greater customer targeting when it comes to advertising special offers on your site and seeing what converts and what doesn’t.
Giving your bricks and mortar store an online presence is a great way to broaden your audience and put your business on the search engine ‘map’. There are many businesses that have made the move online as the high street continues to struggle, so it may be a good time to start thinking about what an ecommerce site could do for you.
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