E-commerce mengancam mom & pop business

26 JUL 2014

Throughout the last decade, we’ve watched the rise of the internet. With it, the internet has brought us the ability to see our family from the other side of the world, it’s brought us information we would have never had access to, and it’s brought us an incredibly convenient new way to shop. That’s why it’s no surprise that eCommerce numbers are exploding in the UK. However, what kind of effect has the boom in eCommerce had on small, brick and mortar companies? Today, we’re going to look into how eCommerce has grown and what’s expected through the year; as well as the effect it’s had on small brick and mortar businesses in the UK.

UK 2013 eCommerce Numbers                                                                           

When we look at the total revenue the UK saw from eCommerce in 2013, it really is staggering. New figures show that last year, UK shoppers spent £91 billion online! Looking at the growth trends, the numbers become even more eye opening. Throughout the year 2013, the online retail market grew by 16% according to the IMRG-Capgemini eRetail Sales Index.

What We Can Expect To See From eCommerce Through 2014?

As we’ve seen in recent years, eCommerce sales are expected to continue growing throughout 2014. As a matter of fact, currently in the UK, online retail sales account for an estimated 21% of the entire retail market. As smartphones continue to make shopping online more convenient, experts are predicting that we’ll also see the fastest growth in internet sales to date this year at 17%. That means that in the UK alone, consumers are expected to spend more than £107 billion in online retail sales.

So, Where Does That Leave Mom & Pop

Although the fact the online sales are booming is a great thing for bigger companies, with websites displaying all of their products, the big concern is revolving around mom & pop businesses. With so much money being spent online, the smaller brick & mortar companies are definitely feeling the pain. The good news is that even though a good portion of sales are now happening online, the internet can’t put a tangible product in our hands to try before we buy it. It will also never replace the feeling of walking down High Street and hopping from store to store. With that said, smaller brick & mortar companies aren’t going anywhere; they’re just going to have to work a bit harder.

What Smaller Brick and Mortar Buinesses Can Do To Survive

Customer Service - Online retail can never give the personal touch that a high street business offers. Any brick and mortar business be it B to B, or B to C, must maximize this aspect of business. 

Focus On Unique – Although you can find “almost” anything you want online, you won’t be able to find absolutely everything. There are many products and services that consumers can only obtain from smaller brick and mortar businesses. With that said, smaller companies need to start focusing on, and promoting aspects of their buisiness that can help them stand out from the crowd. This can be anything from unique product lines, to customized services. 

Build A Website – No, matter, how small your business, having an online presence is essential. These days, building a website doesn’t require much, if any technical skills. Smaller mom and pop companies can easily build-out websites, and eCommerce stores using pre-built templates -  you don’t even have to enable purchases via online. A website can simply be a vehicle for displaying your products and services, and driving leads. You don’t need to know SEO, or be a savvy social marketer to promote your webiste - you can use offline methods.. Put your website address on business cards, brochures and flyers, and ensure when you speak with customers on the phone that they are aware of your website. 

Final Thoughts

eCommerce is booming and will continue to do so. The simple reality is that consumers like convenience and that’s exactly what online shopping offers. Although smaller brick and mortar companies may feel the pain, over time, they will learn to adapt and continue moving forward. The key is for them to focus on the unique value they provide to their target audience

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