In 2019, no one imagined that in the spring of 2020 America would see nearly 15% unemployment, a stock market drop of 31.7% from its all-time high, and over 100,000 small businesses closing forever. The nation’s landscape changed in the blink of an eye, and COVID-19 is the reason. If your business is currently battling the effects of the shutdown, consider fighting back with e-Commerce.
Selling Products Online
COVID-19 Ignites New Shopping Habbits
For the last six months, e-Commerce has been the difference for some businesses between closing their doors or staying afloat. Take a look at some of the current stats for e-Commerce growth:
- 146% increase in online retail orders
- Online conversion rates are up to 8.8%, mimicking rates of Cyber Monday
- The first quarter 2020 e-commerce estimate increased 14.8 % from the first quarter of 2019
In addition, e-Commerce is changing the way consumers shop. In terms of accessibility, convenience, and safety, shoppers are choosing e-Commerce. Here’s how:
- 72% of all e-Commerce transactions are on a mobile device
- 24% of consumers say they will not be comfortable shopping in a mall for six months after social distancing ends
- Online grocery sales grew 40%
In addition to bottom-line sales, adding e-Commerce to your business has long-term benefits. Your online business is open 24/7 instead of being restricted to normal store hours. There are no limitations based on geographic location, convenience of parking, or traffic patterns.
E-commerce attracts more people to your website if you have a solid SEO strategy in place. Plus, it offers wonderful scalability. You can build from Buy Online Pick Up In-Store (BOPIS) to offering a delivery option to set up a shipping provider as you grow.
If you are interested in adding e-Commerce to your business, we recommend one of these top three solutions:
Top 3 Small Business e-Commerce Solutions
Rated the highest, the first solution is WooCommerce. If you already have a WordPress website, you are in luck. WooCommerce is built on WordPress so your branding and styles will match. It is easy to set up and they offer a free trial. However, annual costs can add up quickly. WooCommerce also offers over 300 official plugins some of which are free.
The second e-Commerce solution to consider is Shopify. Best known for its retail use, Shopify is easy for beginners to implement. Monthly prices range from $29 to $299 depending on the version you choose, but all come with 24/7 online support. For an additional monthly fee, you can add payment gateways and shipping providers. Shopify is convenient because it offers pre-built themes or the opportunity to build your store from scratch. In addition, there is a wide variety of free and paid plugins you can add.
Finally, you can choose Square. It is an excellent point-of-sale solution that helps with inventory management. If you currently have a Square account, you can get started without any additional monthly fees. Your business can begin by paying a percentage of sales and a transaction fee or move to a paid plan that offers more advanced features. Square only offers pre-built storefront designs and customization is limited.
How Small Business Survives COVID-19
As stay-in-place orders are given and consumers are asked to stay 6’ apart while wearing masks, businesses that offer brick and mortar and e-commerce solutions will fare better by letting shoppers make choices that work for their personal comfort levels. The COVID-19 pandemic has given shoppers reason to be concerned as the nation is wondering what the “new normal” will look like. Businesses who innovate during challenging times survive and thrive. By adding e-Commerce to your business, you are prepared for whatever the remainder of 2020 brings and beyond.
If you feel it’s time for a new website to go along with your e-Commerce solution, contact Caledon Virtual for a free consultation.