Day by day the statistics related to online commerce are increased thanks to the trust that consumers have placed in e-commerce. For example, 51% of people in USA prefer to shop online. However, the percentage of SMEs that have joined online sales is still very low.
Until today, what has stopped to SMEs to join into the world of e-commerce, is the ignorance of this topic, and therefore the fear of losing money and time.
For SMEs, e-commerce represents a wide range of exhibition and sales opportunities, which could only be limited by the distribution capacity of these companies.
Advantages for SMEs
It is important to point out that there are many advantages that e-commerce can bring to SMEs. Since it allows opening paths for new potential customers to arrive, resulting in increased sales.
The benefits, in addition to economic, will be social, since they include the market expansion, as well as the increase in productivity and being perceived as an innovative company.
In e-commerce, products are available to everyone from anywhere and anytime, 365 days a year. There are millions of active users on the Internet, so there is a much larger audience to offer our product to.
Another advantage of e-commerce is the savings of reducing infrastructure and personnel, significantly reducing costs.
Every time we buy more online, the e-commerce sector is growing and that is why it is vital that SMEs are aware of this and update themselves. According to eBay, companies that venture into e-commerce increase their sales by up to 55%.
For SMEs to grow their e-commerce business, they must first learn about new processes and adapt their current systems. Currently there are four main business models in e-commerce:
- B2C – Business to Consumer: The most common, companies selling to general public.
- B2B – Business to Business: Companies selling to other companies, like materials and services.
- C2B – Consumer to Business: Consumer selling services or products to companies.
- C2C – Consumer to Consumer: Consumers sell products directly to other consumers without intermediaries.
Now that we know the existing models and choose one, next step is to know some key points to take into account.
Giving options to pay is a very important part of e-commerce. Since SMEs will be able to bring their customers closer to their online offer every day and will contribute greatly to creating loyalty to the brand.
The variety of payment methods that currently exists through the Internet is very wide:
- Credit or debit card.
- Bank transfers.
- Payment in convenience stores.
- Using systems like PayPal.
- Payment against delivery.
Establishing clear and attractive policies on shipping costs will save SMEs many headaches, since knowing the cost of shipping many customers give up their purchase decision.
In this sense, are some good options, like offer the first free shipping, a fixed rate regardless of the size of the package, or free from a certain purchase amount, among other ideas.
Creating well-planned and directed strategies and campaigns is essential for online businesses. Without these tools it will be as if they did not exist on the internet.
Ideally, shipping times should be under two days for those who have their own products. Among the goals to set is that 95% of sales be on time. Fast deliveries can give you an excellent reputation as a seller.
There are dates when sales increase considerably, such as the Good End, Christmas, Three Kings Day, Valentine’s Day, back to school and Cyber Monday.
Customers know that during those days they can find the best prices and promotions, specially in online stores for their favorite products and services. So that no SME that has an e-commerce can afford to go unnoticed in these big sales.
For the company to know if it performs well with its online sales, it requires be able to measure practically everything. This will allow modifications to be made if it’s necessary, being the great differentiator with a traditional retail.
Although it does not sound so easy, the effort is worth it because your business will grow. A good e-commerce development will give SMEs the possibility to stop losing great business opportunities.
Having knowledge of this field, they will have elements to overcome fears and barriers, both generational and cultural, and thus be part of the great digital world.
It is essential to consider e-commerce in the business plans from now on.
Don’t forget to check our article about e-commerce in the pandemic.