Online retail, or eCommerce, is currently growing three times faster than the wider industry. It accounted for 11% of sales in 2016 and jumped to 16% in 2017, shattering most predictions. Additionally, many of these transactions are now being completed on mobile devices; in fact, mobile eCommerce surpassed desktop in 2016. This added channel of business is great for all entrepreneurs, opening up new customer bases and offering a level of flexibility that was unimaginable a few decades ago. Businesses also have new retail space that doesn’t require rent or insurance and only costs small domain and hosting fees. eCommerce also provides businesses with more visibility, while automatically profiling customers and keeping valuable data.
But it’s also forced most businesses to compete on another platform, something that can be time consuming and expensive. It’s too easy to get lost in the crowded and vast landscape of the internet. Brick and mortar stores allow for a bit more creativity and personalization than a website. And to be sure, expanding your business to an e-commerce platform does not make sense for all retailers. If you sell products that can easily be found on Amazon, for instance, there is little impetus on your end to try to compete with their prices. Your physical store is an integral part of what makes your business tick.
But for many retailers, eCommerce provides an opportunity for incredible growth. And it doesn’t have to be as stressful as it may seem. First, think about some key features that you’d want from your online retail platform:
- Fast web hosting
- SEO tools
- Smart product search
- Abandoned cart emails
- Attached blog
- Mobile friendly
- Coupon and discount capabilities
- Scalability with Facebook, Etsy, Instagram, etc.
- Sync with Amazon, Ebay, Groupon, etc.
- Point of Sale Integration
Ok, now we’ll take a look at a couple of the top retail eCommerce platforms, including how they can work with your retail point of sale system.