Ten Reasons Why Ecommerce Will Soar in 2009
It seems you can’t open the paper or switch on the telly these days without being bombarded with doom and gloom about the world economic collapse. Just this week, Strathfield Car Radios went into administration, 75,000 jobs were axed in one day worldwide and another major UK bank went cap in hand to the Government for billions in bail-out funds.
Yet a recent survey conducted by Sweeney research for the Quarterly Sensis Business Index in November 2008 revealed that online businesses are far more confident and prepared for growth in 2009 than the general business community. When asked about their business prospects for the coming 12 months, online businesses returned figures indicating 46% confidence compared with only 13% for all small to medium businesses.
So why are online businesses more immune to the economic slowdown and preparing for growth when everyone else stands still? Here are ten reasons why ecommerce will be huge in 2009.
1. Online business is simply cheaper!
No shop front rental, fewer employee needs and automated administration mean online stores are incredibly cheap to run when compared with the average street shop. Monthly hosting costs and web design will never add up to as much as shop rental and fit-out. And your website can potentially serve customers without you needing staff to operate the till or reach the top shelf.
Although many businesses choose to enhance an existing street business with a website or use a website to attract business to a landline service, the relative cheapness of a website is contrasted only by its high potential to make money!
2. Working in pyjamas
The day of the pin-stripe suit and power meeting are over. Throw off the shackles of the capitalist corporate world, throw on the monster feet slippers and comfy PJs and switch on the laptop in the spare room.
Now you can be a successful businessman without shaving every day! God, I love this job!
3. Earning money while you sleep
Continuing the pyjama theme, nothing beats a business that keeps working while you get some shut-eye. Websites don’t have closing times and never clock off. In a worldwide online market, when Sydney closes, London opens. And being open when the high street shops are closed can also boost business.
Online mail-order shopping is increasing dramatically year on year as more people discover the convenience of buying products when and where they want with a few clicks.
4. Online marketing is more effective
When someone likes an advert in a magazine, they can’t click on it to buy straight away. When passing a billboard, you may be miles away from the shop. But online, when a banner ad or search engine listing catches a potential customer’s attention, they can act on that impulse immediately.
Within minutes, they’ve visited your store bought the item and transferred funds into your account. Tell me one other form of traditional advertising that links desire with action so closely?
5. An online store can be refitted in seconds
Want to redecorate? Traditionally, that means closing the doors of the business, throwing sheets over the stock and spending weekends painting the walls and building new fixtures and fittings.
Not anymore. An online store can be adjusted behind the scenes without influencing the ongoing customer activity. Once a new colour scheme or layout has been selected, one button push switches it on. Voila – new design.
6. Tech is the new cool
These days, it seems everyone has an iPhone or a laptop or PDA or mp3 player. My stepmother, who can normally cause technology to spontaneously produce error messages merely by switching it on, has joined the 21st Century with her iPod and ceramics website.
Each year, more people become techno-junkies. Fear of technology and computers is diminishing fast. Online spending is steadily increasing and more potential customers are connected to broadband now than ever before.
Ecommerce has a long way to go before it completely fulfils its potential. Like stock that keeps going up and up, it is a pretty safe bet that online business will continue to improve and grow in popularity for years to come.
7. Politicians love the internet
Whether it is Barack Obama with his Blackberry fetish or Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull dueling on Twitter and YouTube, politicians love the potential of the internet. Expect governments to continue to support the expansion of online business as they thrive on the kudos of association with the future.
Gone are the days when the Government seemed to yearn for the 1950s to come back, resisting change and embracing tradition. New governments are forward looking and excited by the wide reaching potential offered by the internet and new technology.
8. Online business has never been easier
Virtually anyone can build their own professional website these days. Special applications allow anyone to create a shopping cart website to rival Amazon. The only limit is your imagination.
The evolution of the internet has created plenty of tools aimed at helping the average person extract the most from the web without spending hours at night school.
Of course, there are no guarantees of success. Even if you can build a fantastic website quickly and cheaply, if your product stinks, you have a problem.
9. Start up costs won’t break the bank
Can’t get credit to set up your business? The bank tightening up loan conditions and refusing more business applications in reaction to years of bad credit? Who needs the banks when an online business can be launched for the price of a decent lunch!
That’s right. Some businesses are starting off small and growing as money comes in. $15.95 a month may be enough to get a simple hosting account and use a website builder application to get the first website running.
Spreading marketing costs over monthly payments can also get the business off and running without putting the family out on the street. Starting with a monthly search engine optimization program and/or an email marketing program could bring in those first few valuable customers to get the ball rolling.
Why risk your mortgage launching a traditional business in uncertain economic times? A lot less can help you to launch online right now – smaller risk, greater opportunities for growth.
10. The world is your oyster
Assuming your product or service is not geographically limited – you wouldn’t offer your cleaning services to families in Los Angeles – you could take advantage of the weaker dollar to export overseas.
Your website is accessible wherever there is an internet connection; Liverpool, Paris, Zanzibar. If your range of designer cosmetics or rare comic books can be reasonably shipped by post or courier, your potential customer base can increase from the population of your local city to billions around the world.
More potential customers mean more sales mean more financial security in these difficult times.
So What Are You Waiting For?
2009 could be your year. If you have an existing business with uncertain times ahead or you have a new business idea waiting for the right moment to be unleashed, the internet is where the smart money is.
So burn the suit and tie, pull out the pyjamas and monster feet slippers, brew a pot of coffee and get started!