Why ecommerce for small business strategy is integral

July 27, 2022

In an increasingly digital world, even small business owners can’t discount the importance of having a strong ecommerce presence. 

 

Ecommerce (short for Electronic Commerce), has become a standard shopping practice across all industry types. The U.S. Department of Commerce reports the continued growth of ecommerce sales year-over-year with ecommerce making up 13.9% of all retail sales currently.  Businesses of all sizes have begun to offer online options, with some moving to a completely digital storefront and others crafting a hybrid shopping experience for their customers. Regardless of size or industry, ecommerce is an important part of a successful business strategy.

 

How ecommerce helps small business owners

Customers expect convenient online shopping options, and with this trend ever increasing, having no ecommerce experience means you’re missing out. There are 2.5 million online retailers in the U.S. alone, the majority of which are small businesses. Ecommerce provides your company with a unique opportunity not only to serve those in your area who want to use online shopping options, but it also caters to customers outside your physical vicinity. By bringing part of your business online, you are opening the doors to growth potentials simply not possible with just a brick-and-mortar model.

 

Building ecommerce into your small business operations

If you are going to include ecommerce as part of your business plan, it will require some extra attention and care to be successful. Consider the time, knowledge and resources it will take to create this new commerce channel before you begin, such as:

  • Set up and maintenance of the online store
  • Marketing and advertising for your new ecommerce option
  • Processing and handling of goods sold online
  • Managing inventory with multiple payment portals
     

Including an ecommerce strategy in your business plan doesn’t mean you have to demote focus on your brick-and-mortar; in fact, the two can work in harmony with each other with the right systems in place.

When adding online shopping options to your business’ landscape, you want to do so with intention to avoid any future headaches around data-consolidation or inventory management. This means either finding a solution that will integrate with your existing systems or upgrading to a cloud-based point-of-sale system with online functionality. Most modern POS (point-of-sale) software will offer both in-store register options as well as an online shopping portal. This way, no matter how or where you sell something, it will be measured against the same inventory counts, avoiding overselling.

Here are some features to consider when choosing a small business ecommerce-ready POS platform:

  • Ecommerce functionality: The site functions should be intuitive and easy for your customers to understand and access and should not overly complicate your business’ operations.
  • Look and feel: Your digital storefront is an extension of your brand. Look for software that is visually appealing and customizable to align with your brand.
  • Security: Not only does the shopping experience need to be easy, but it needs to be safe, too. Do your research on the security of the payment processing services available through your POS before making any decisions.
  • Mobile functionality: Nearly three out of every four dollars spent online is done on a mobile device, meaning the functionality of your ecommerce site should be high on your list of requirements.
  • Analytics and reporting: Being able to access and translate POS data in a convenient way is easiest when all your business is done through the same POS system. With modern POS software, inventory and sales data is shared via cloud-based storage, making them easily accessible from anywhere.

 

Creating a small-business ecommerce strategy

An ecommerce shopping option puts your business in a good place for dealing with competition and conversion, but just having an online store won’t deliver results. You need to utilize this new platform strategically to see growth. An ecommerce plan will also help you understand your new market. Here are some topics your small business ecommerce strategy should cover:

  • Objectives and goals: What are the purposes behind the addition of an ecommerce platform? How will ecommerce elevate your business? What kind of growth are you aiming for? Put your goals in terms of real numbers and statements.
  • Audience: Your digitally based customers will be similar to or the same as your current customers, but with different shopping preferences. Having a thorough, documented understanding of your target audience that you can reference will be immensely helpful when making future marketing, merchandising and inventory decisions.
  • Ecommerce competitors: While opening a digital storefront greatly increases your audience reach, it also multiplies your competitors. With such a large market, it can feel overwhelming or almost impossible to compete, which is why it’s important to give weight only to direct competitors. Direct competitors are those who offer an almost identical product or service, which is why it’s important to differentiate yourself. How does the quality of the product differ from your direct competitors? What about the speed of service, or the helpfulness of your customer service? Your ecommerce strategy should include ways that your business will stand out against its competition.
  • Reach: Having an online store is one thing but getting traffic to that store is another. Part of your ecommerce strategy should include marketing efforts, as these will differ from your in-store marketing strategies. Engage with your existing customers by letting them know about your new shopping option. Offer first-time discounts to customers who use your online service. Make sure your website is optimized for SEO. Promote your digital storefront through a strategic social media campaign.

 

Ecommerce for small business strategy: What’s next?

With an ecommerce small business plan in place, you can follow through on the objectives and goals laid out in your small business ecommerce strategy. Refer back to this small business strategy as your ecommerce plan rolls out and revisit your goals often.

A thoughtful small business ecommerce strategy will allow you to apply the right amount of focus towards ecommerce without sacrificing the quality of the business at your physical location, and the right tools will make it all that easier.

 

Learn more about the ecommerce-ready POS options available through U.S. Bank.

Related content

What government officials should know about real-time payments

Time is money: Intelligent Payment Routing saves businesses both

4 ways to make practical use of real-time payments

Drive digital transformation with payments innovation

Tailor Ridge eBill case study

Buying or leasing? Questions to ask before signing a contract

Want AP automation to pay both businesses and consumers?

Automate accounts payable to optimize revenue and payments

Colleges respond to student needs by offering digital payments

A simple guide to set up your online ordering restaurant

ePOS cash register training tips and tricks

What corporate treasurers need to know about Virtual Account Management

Improve online presence your business

Gift cards can extend ROI into 2022

4 restaurant models that aren’t dine-in

3 emerging technology trends for bankers

Zelle® helps Sunriver Resort make payments efficient and secure

Why ecommerce for small business strategy is integral

How blockchain technology is changing treasury

Blockchain: Separating hype from substance

Enhancing the patient experience through people-centered payments

How small businesses are growing sales with online ordering

Payment industry trends that are the future of POS

Digital Onboarding helps finance firm’s clients build communities

How to start a photography business

Unexpected cost savings may be hiding in your payment strategy

3 ways POS data analysis can help define your brand

Checklist: What you’ll need for your first retail pop-up shop

How mobile point of sale (mPOS) can benefit your side gig

P2P payments make it easier to split the tab

Banking connectivity: Helping businesses deliver the easier, faster, more secure customer experience of the future

Integrated receivables management solution supports customer focus at MSC Industrial Supply

ABCs of APIs: Drive treasury efficiency with real-time connectivity

How real-time inventory visibility can boost retail margins

How emerging banking solutions enable better decisions

Empowering managers with data automation and integration

Common pitfalls to avoid in the equipment financing process

The secret to successful service provider integration

Digital banking and cloud accounting software: How they work together

The cyber insurance question: Additional protection beyond prevention

How running a business that aligns with core values is paying off

Meet the Milwaukee businessman behind Funky Fresh Spring Rolls

How electronic billing platforms improve government payments

How to identify what technology is needed for your small business

Key considerations for online ordering systems

Planning for restaurant startup costs and when to expect them

Staying organized when taking payments

How does an electronic point of sale help your business keep track of every dime?

How iPads can help increase efficiency in your salon

Tools that can streamline staffing and employee management

How to redefine challenges with business collaboration

Honey Luxury Beauté: growing a side project into an eye-catching beauty business

3 ways to gain loyalty with your customers

Strengthen your brand with modern POS technology

Finance or operating lease? Deciphering the legalese of equipment finance

Digital trends poised to reshape hotel payments

Digital banking for business: How connectivity improves customer experience

How AI in treasury management is transforming finance

Automate escheatment for accounts payable to save time and money

Cashless business pros and cons: Should you make the switch?

Collect utility and telecom bill payments faster

Treasury management innovations earn Model Bank awards

Why retail merchandise returns will be a differentiator in 2022

Technology strategies to complement your business plan

Omnichannel retail: 4 best practices for navigating the new normal

Is your restaurant Google-friendly?

The AI journey in finance: How to make it part of your strategy

Tech tools to keep your restaurant operations running smoothly

Start of disclosure content

Loan approval is subject to credit approval and program guidelines. Not all loan programs are available in all states for all loan amounts. Interest rate and program terms are subject to change without notice. Mortgage, home equity and credit products are offered by U.S. Bank National Association. Deposit products are offered by U.S. Bank National Association. Member FDIC.