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Ever notice your customers checking their mobile phones for prices and product information while standing in your store? Or have you ever had customers say they saw a product on the Internet and came in specifically to see it? These consumer practices are sometimes referred to as showrooming and webrooming. Webrooming is when customers do research online, then go to the store to purchase. Showrooming is when they visit the store and then buy online.
Either way, customers are using the Web to find and buy products and services. If you do not have an e-commerce site which offers a product catalogue and/or a shopping cart for orders and credit card payments, you may be handing potential customers over to your competitors.
Other advantages of having an e-commerce site:
- Your store is open 24 hours allowing customers to browse through your products at their convenience — flexible hours may create additional sales.
- The shopping cart and payment features on your site may encourage customers to buy immediately instead of waiting.
- You can increase your exposure beyond your local area and open your store to the world
- You can conduct business to business (B2B) online transactions
If customers can find what they want, see it and pay for it on your website, then you have just made it easier for them to go ahead and buy it then and there!
There are a variety of ways to set up an e-commerce site by purchasing e-commerce software, payment processing and accounting systems or having a third party host your store. Do your homework by:
- Researching and investigating e-commerce options
- Testing before you launch
- Finding shipping possibilities for national and international destinations
- Learning ways to manage your inventory
Mobile devices are being used more frequently to search for and buy items online so be sure to stay current with this trend by ensuring your e-commerce site is mobile friendly. An e-commerce site may involve a lot of work prior to launch, but it can pay off over time.
According to Statistics Canada, Canadian enterprises sold more than $136 billion in goods and services over the Internet in 2013. Be sure not to miss out on your share!
Learn more about setting up a secure payment system for your online sales.