Online retailing is one of the fastest growing retail sector in the United States, with an annual growth rate at about 15%. The online retailing industry represents around 8% of retail sales in the US. In other countries, it is even higher.
Forrester Research expects that online retail sales in China will exceed $160 billion. With these growth numbers, businesses wonder what it takes to be successful online. How does online retailing differ from the more traditional brick and mortar type of retailers?
The online retail industry is growing due to mostly two factors. The first, traditional retailers (brick and mortar) are entering the online retail industry now. The second driving force is the evolution of existing online retailers, who are getting more innovative with their online businesses.
Growth of Online Retailing
Online retailing sales develop first where customers face higher offline shopping costs or limited availability. These are the primary markets for online retailers. In order to grow beyond, online retailers need to market their website and brand to the masses and similar localized shoppers. People with similar proximity challenges will join the shopping trends and deals online. Online retailers tend to do very well as they expand and acquire small numbers of customers in multiple online locations through various methods such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO) campaigns.
Once the brand and product line is in place, online retailers can focus on gaining market share and growing online in traffic and sales conversion as well as customer retention. Unlike a traditional retail business that has to depend solely on the local traffic and people that live within the proximity of the store, online retailers can market worldwide and target specific niche markets and communities anywhere in the world.
Online retailing success is influenced by many factors, including website design, Social Media Marketing (SMM), Content Marketing, and other factors. To be part of the online retailing growth, entrepreneurs and companies must understand the importance of online marketing, their online operations, and sales conversion.
The growth of online retailing can also be attributed to the use of smartphones and tablets, which are boosting the amount of time consumers spend online. More than half of U.S. online consumers now have smartphones, and they’re using them to research purchases, find stores and to find the best prices available — often completing a transaction directly on the device. Tablet owners are also spending their leisure moments (weekends, evening prime-time hours) shopping online.
Brands that want to increase their online sales or enter the ecommerce industry, can always get help through consulting services and working with experts in their respective field. Avoiding common pitfalls and mistakes is a good business strategy. Implementing marketing campaigns that work well with online retail operations and specific niche industries and vertical markets.
Online Retail Sales Internationally
US Ecommerce Sales