Year on year the number of online shoppers increases, with 2023 already reporting that 1 out of every 3 people will shop online.
eCommerce is proving increasingly popular, with consumers opting for the ease, price, and review systems that online shopping offers. Consumers no longer want to travel to purchase goods. They want to compare products and have them shipped to their door, which in this ever-competitive market, is vital to meeting consumer wants and needs.
Traditional physical stores are often referred to as brick-and-mortar and continue to appeal to customers. Brick-and-mortar shops allow people to purchase goods immediately, receive real-time customer service and create an immersive shopping experience. Having both a physical and online presence reaps the benefits of both business models and is therefore increasingly popular. This blog will explore the importance of having an eCommerce website for your business, but it is not to discredit the significance of physical stores.
What is eCommerce?
eCommerce is often referred to as ‘Electronic Commerce’ or ‘Internet Commerce’ and is the action of buying and selling products or services online. Ecommerce allows businesses to sell their products to customers, other businesses, or even consumer-to-consumer transactions. eCommerce allows for customers to order goods and services via an online store. Once the transaction has been completed, the order details are sent to a backend eCommerce system which then processes the payment, confirms the order, and starts the delivery process.
Last year, the average person in the UK spent 5 hours and 47 minutes per day accessing the internet, highlighting the importance of having an online presence in order for your business to succeed.
Benefits of eCommerce for your business?
Eliminates geographical limitations.
Having an online presence allows your business to broaden its potential customer base, on a global scale. Having an eCommerce website has the potential to override geographical limitations by expanding customer reach, opening up a world of global sales for any business. 93% of consumers say they will not travel further than 20 minutes to make a purchase, making businesses rely on local and returning customers to fuel their businesses, whereas having an eCommerce store removes all geographical barriers and limitations.
An online store allows businesses to be able to take transactions 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year. With a shopping cart that never closes, the number of sales is unprecedented with a significant advantage over stores that have set opening and closing times. Customers also prioritise ease when it comes to their shopping experience, therefore having a process that can be completed online and delivered to their door is more favourable. The buying process also tends to be faster than in-store transactions, which is a priority for customers today.
Online businesses also have the possibility to keep a higher number of customer retention, by giving discounts to customers in the form of email campaigns and personalised discount codes, which encourage repeat custom, therefore increasing the number of sales.
Easy data management
Having an online store allows businesses to collect customer data, from buying habits to demographics, which can then be used to calculate the demand for new products in the future. This information can also be used to help with stock adjustment, as products that tend to sell out quicker can be accounted for and managed so as not to run out of stock.
UTP’S eCommerce Payment Gateway
UTP offers an eCommerce Payment Gateway, which securely allows customers to pay for goods and services via card payment from the comfort of your home. The eCommerce Payment Gateway is compatible with a wide range of off-the-shelf website shopping cart solutions, making it an easy addition to any existing website.
To collate both new and existing customers, it’s imperative for businesses to give the best shopping experience. Customers enjoy the flexibility of different payment methods, which with the eCommerce Payment Gateway allows for transactions to be made by debit card, credit card and over 150 Alternative Payment Methods, including PayPal, Google Pay and Amazon Pay. UTP’s Payment Gateway system generates automated branded E-mail receipts to be sent out to customers after the transaction has been processed and completed, which promotes a more trustworthy business to their customers.
UTP’s eCommerce Payment Gateway includes real time transaction reporting, including alerts about chargebacks and detailed information as to why transactions have been unsuccessful. This real time feedback allows for further investigation to be carried out and if needed, contact with the customer to revise the payment.
Benefits of having a brick-and-mortar store
Although 95% of British shoppers purchase goods online, only 3% have gone as far as completely abandoning brick-and-mortar stores. Instead, people opt to participate in both shopping experiences to fulfil their individual needs. The types of items purchased will heavily affect a person’s shopping method. People tend to want to try on clothes, see their groceries, and browse the shops for personal interaction; for these reasons physical shops will always be prominent. Customers will always be more likely to purchase products when they are provided with immediate gratification and the ability to peruse and test them before purchasing.
Other reasons for the public to continue to use physical stores is due to the easy return process, in which you can return or exchange products in store, whereas online returns include postage, fees and are more time consuming.
Brick-and-mortar stores allow for social interaction, and for some, it is a crucial part of the day. Whether it be a grocery shop or a clothing retailer, being able to go outside and converge with others is something that eCommerce can’t provide.
Many stores have decided to blend both brick-and-mortar stores with an ecommerce site, therefore increasing sales as customers have the flexibility to shop according to their preference. To conclude, the customer having the choice of how and where to shop for products is imperative and can be used to significantly grow your business.
To hear more information about UTP’S payment gateway and how it can transform your business, contact us via phone or email!
Phone: 0330 99 99 300