More and more people are making purchases online. It is a quick and easy way to find products that are not available in certain areas. Shopping online saves time and money on travel even with shipping rates included. Purchasing online offers many options for pricing comparisons and provides a wider selection of choices than physical stores can offer. It is also a great way to find unique items, difficult sizes, and specialty items. Some people shop online for everyday items and groceries as well as bigger-ticket items and collectibles. The convenience of having things sent to the door appeals to professionals with hectic schedules, elderly people, busy mothers, those with mobility issues, and people who do not have their own transportation.
With the increase in online shopping, it is surprising that three-quarters of all small businesses do not have an E-commerce store, according to a recent article on BizReport.com. One explanation may be the cost of setting up and hosting an E-commerce site. There are different software programs and free platforms to get started, but maintaining a site that accepts orders, deals with electronic payment methods, and coordinates production and shipping is time-consuming. It also requires a specific level of knowledge, personnel dedicated to the operations of the site, and someone to analyze and track orders and reporting data on a regular basis. In short, managing an E-commerce store or site is a full-time job and cannot simply be added to a company website. Many small businesses rely on large E-commerce sites to provide their products online.
Small businesses will provide information on their websites that help people locate their products. They may provide links to sites that carry their products. Many have a locator page that allows customers to enter their zip codes and find out the nearest physical store that sells their products. Still others do plan to add an E-commerce section to their company websites or offer a separate site where people can purchase their products online. A Hampton Creek Ecommerce Store, for example, is planned for the end of this year. Their products can be found at many Walmart and Target physical locations, as well as other stores, and online at other sites, but are not currently available via the company website. Small businesses will have to make the leap to E-commerce services soon or risk being left behind by their competition that has online capabilities.