Ecommerce sales are growing. Online sales topped $1 trillion worldwide for the first time last year and there are good reasons you should consider selling online now to start getting your share.
There are really two kinds of businesses or entrepreneurs that should be considering ecommerce opportunities right now.
- Small, successful brick-and-mortar retailers that want to see their company grow.
- Individuals with a passion or interest that translate well into a niche or specialty online store.
What follows are four good reasons for these folks — small brick-and-mortar retailers or inspired entrepreneurs — to consider opening an online retail business now.
Make Money Selling Online
Ecommerce sales for retail goods are growing faster than offline sales for brick-and-mortar stores.
comScore, the trend-tracking firm, said that in spite of “continued economic uncertainty, 2012 was a strong year for retail ecommerce. Throughout the year, growth rates versus the prior year were in the mid-teens to outpace growth at brick-and-mortar retail by a factor of approximately 4x.”
Separately, comScore noted that online retail sales grew 14 percent year-over-year in the fourth quarter of 2012, reaching $56.8 billion in the U.S. alone. The fourth quarter also represented the 13th consecutive quarter of positive ecommerce growth and the 9th consecutive quarter of double-digit growth.
Shoppers Are Online Already
In 2012, Google worked with Ipsos OTX, a market research firm, to survey potential holiday shoppers about their 2012 holiday shopping intentions. One of the key findings was that 80 percent of the 1,500 shoppers queried would research products and prices online before they would make a purchase. Clearly the Internet is the engine driving retail.
Consider that 78.1 percent of the total U.S. population or approximately 245.2 million Americans are active Internet users, according to Internet World States, a usage and population statistics service. Your potential customers are already online.
The Google data indicated that 44 percent of the shoppers surveyed intended to make an online purchase and some 51 percent would look online before making a purchase at a brick-and-mortar store.
Mobile Devices Are the Next Retail Driver
Research from Aaron Smith of the Pew Internet & American Life Project conducted in January 2013 showed that nearly six-in-ten American mobile phone owners used their phone inside of a brick-and-mortar store specifically to help them make buying decisions.
About 28 percent of these mobile shoppers looked up product reviews, and another 27 percent compared prices online.
Forrester, the research firm, estimated in August 2012 that in just the next few years half of American mobile internet users would also be mobile shoppers, making online purchases directly from their phones or tablets. This could represent a four-fold increase in mobile commerce.