Online retail sales in the United States continue to grow rapidly. In the second quarter of 2017, online retail sales totaled $94.3 billion, up 16.0% from the second quarter of 2016. This year, it’s expected to take up 21% of overall retail sales. This growth is driven by several factors, including consumer preference for online buying, increased investment in e-commerce by retailers, and the evolution of mobile commerce.
The growth in online retail sales is benefiting both consumers and retailers. For consumers, it means more convenience and choice and access to better prices and deals. On the other hand, it means increased competition and the need to invest in e-commerce capabilities to stay ahead of the curve for retailers.
What’s driving the growth in online retail sales?
Several factors are driving the growth in online retail sales. These include:
- Consumer preference for buying online: More and more consumers are turning to the internet to purchase items, thanks to convenience and choice.
- Increased investment in e-commerce by retailers: To keep up with consumer demand, retailers are investing more in their e-commerce capabilities, including their websites and fulfillment operations.
- The growth of mobile commerce: With the rise of smartphones and tablets, consumers are increasingly using these devices to shop online. The increase in smartphone and tablet users contributes to the overall growth of online retail sales.
- The popularity of social media: Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram play a significant role in driving online sales, thanks to the ability to share product information and reviews with friends and followers.
- The rise of e-commerce marketplaces: Marketplaces like Amazon and eBay are becoming more popular with shoppers, thanks to the wide range of products they offer and the competitive prices.
What do these trends mean for retailers?
The growth in online retail sales creates both opportunities and challenges for retailers. On the one hand, it’s opening up new markets and allowing them to reach more consumers than ever before. But on the other hand, it’s increasing competition and putting pressure on retailers to invest in e-commerce capabilities.
To stay competitive, retailers need to manage their online retail stores effectively. Here’s how to do it:
Investing in their website
In order to attract and convert online shoppers, retailers need to have a well-designed website that is easy to navigate and provides a good user experience. So it’s also good to have some experienced web design companies to work on your website. They can make your website look clean and attractive and can even increase the security of your website.
Offering competitive prices
One way to do this is by using price comparison tools like Google Shopping, which allows shoppers to compare the prices of different products from different retailers. This can help them find the best deals and save money on their purchases.
Another way to offer competitive prices is by using a ” dynamic pricing strategy.” Dynamic pricing involves changing the price of a product based on how much demand there is for it. When demand is high, the price goes up, and when demand is low, the price goes down. This allows retailers to maximize their profits by charging more for products when there is more demand.
By using both strategies, retailers can stay competitive and win sales from online shoppers.
Focusing on customer service
Providing excellent customer service is one of the most important things retailers can do to keep shoppers happy and coming back. This includes offering good customer support, responding quickly to inquiries, and resolving complaints quickly and effectively.
Providing fast and free shipping
One of the things that online shoppers expect is fast and free shipping. This means retailers need to meet these expectations by offering fast and free shipping on all orders. They can do this by partnering with a shipping company that offers fast and free shipping or setting up their fulfillment operation.
By meeting online shoppers’ expectations, retailers can increase their sales and compete more effectively against their competitors.
Creating a seamless omnichannel experience
To stay competitive, retailers need to offer a seamless shopping experience across all channels, including online, mobile, and brick-and-mortar. This means that shoppers should be able to easily switch between channels and have a similar experience across all of them.
One way to achieve this is by using a platform that allows you to manage your online and offline stores together. This platform should allow you to manage inventory, orders, and customers in a unified platform.
Another way to provide a seamless shopping experience is by using a mobile app that allows shoppers to purchase products from their smartphones. This app should offer a user-friendly interface and allow shoppers to search for products and checkout easily.
Better payment options
Retailers need to offer various payment options to their customers, including credit and debit cards, mobile wallets, and even cryptocurrency. This allows shoppers to choose the payment option that is most convenient for them.
It’s also crucial for retailers to provide secure payment options. This means using a payment processor that is PCI compliant and offers fraud protection.
As an online retailer, it’s essential to invest in digital security. This includes using a secure server, encrypting sensitive information, and using a firewall.
It’s also good to have an experienced team of IT professionals to help you with your digital security. They can help you set up your systems and ensure they are secure.
By focusing on these critical areas, retailers can effectively compete in the online space and capitalize on the growing trend of online retail sales.