The world seemed smaller, slower and more store-based in the pre-internet era. Twenty years after the dot.com boom though, it’s all changed.
Retail shoppers in Western Europe spent around £225 billion online in 2017, according to research firm Forrester. The internet as a sales channel accounted for nearly ten percent of retail sales. It’s significantly higher in the UK — around 17 percent.
Why the change?
The changes have come about through a combination of technology and changing customer expectations. Take mobile devices. By 2020, there will be 5.7 billion smartphones worldwide, a growth of 1.9 billion from the end of 2016, according to the GSMA, an industry trade body.
Three times as many Europeans are making online purchases using mobile devices compared to even a couple of years ago, our research shows. It’s not just the devices that are mobile. It’s their users.
Around £2.6 billion was spent in 2017 by train travellers commuting to or from work, says research from Retail Economics. That’s around £1 in every £25 spent online from a mobile device by someone, who was themselves mobile
So, for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), transactional websites optimized for mobile devices are a must. They allow you to claim your share of digital commerce.
Anytime, anywhere, any channel or device
Consumers expect to shop online, anytime, anywhere, using any channel or device. So, giving them a great experience within and across channels has become essential. Customers want to be able to buy online and collect in-store. Or order in-store for delivery to their home, office, a store or locker. Or buy in-store and order items for delivery later.
Customer journeys are becoming more digital. Old online/offline channel distinctions are blurring. Purchases customers begin using a digital channel but do not complete online will reach €620 billion by 2020, up from €402 billion in 2015, predicts Forrester.
Against this backdrop, businesses must be or become digital to succeed. Small businesses are well-placed to respond compared to larger businesses. Not only because they can react faster, but also because a large store base is no guarantee of success in the digital era.
These pages will help you make the most out of your digital presence. Whether you want tips on how to sell online, market yourself online, find new customers, or stay in control of your business admin.
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