Is an eCommerce website right for your business?

eCommerce checkoutAre you a retailer who is not yet selling online? According to Stats Can, over half of the internet users in Canada have made online purchases. Statistics Canada also did a survey revealing that “Canadians spent over $18.9 billion online for goods and services in 2012, (which was) a 24% jump from 2010” (CBCnews). Canadians are now shopping online in very large numbers.

It does not matter if you live in Thunder Bay or Pembroke, you will be able to sell in Toronto, Vancouver, or anywhere on the planet. An online presence can help you even the odds, and expand your business to compete where you never have before.  In the online marketing world only 10% (Stats Can) of Canadian small businesses are actually selling online. However, Canadians themselves spent approximately $19 billion online last year. This is not a trend; this is an ever growing reality where the other 90% of spending is going to companies from the USA and other countries. You have the capability to compete and market your goods and services far beyond your street corner.

An online presence and an eCommerce website is a “virtually living” electronic storefront. If you create your eCommerce web design and maintain it with professionalism, diligence and patience, you can then reap the rewards. After all, this is just another way of marketing and getting your goods to potential customers. Professionalism and customer service is mandatory, and this is especially critical for an online presence. New users to your website will leave in less than ten seconds (and very likely never return) if they cannot determine what your offer is and easily find what they want.

A few of the reliable and proven self-starter eCommerce platforms are Magento, Shopify, Volusion, and WP e-commerce for WordPress users. These platforms have a wide range of costs, requirements, functionalities and benefits. Some are free and some have monthly fees, some have limited design capability, and some require hosting accounts, but they are all focused eCommerce platforms that will help you get your goods to the internet market. They may not be perfect for you out of the box, but they can help you get started in the eCommerce direction. In other situations, a custom eCommerce web design may be needed to deliver unique goods and services.

It is important from a business and internet development point of view that you can expand your website as your online business grows. It is highly recommended that you start with a responsive web design system that can help you test the online waters, then learn what is working and what is not. It will not necessarily be readily apparent, and our assumptions are often wrong. Be prepared for ongoing testing and analyzing data. A web development or internet marketing professional can prepare and optimize your website in a multitude of advantageous ways, beyond what came included in your platforms package.

Sixty-seven percent of young Canadians between ages 25 and 34 have made online purchases. The future is online. If you offer goods and services, you have absolutely nothing to lose, and much to gain by expanding your business with an online presence and an eCommerce website.