The online sales market is continuing to grow, from more and more individual sellers appearing to the recent United Kingdom B2C E-commerce Report showing that e-commerce in the UK increased by 17.8% in 2016. While this is great for the industry, it does mean there are greater pressures being placed on online sellers.
From e-commerce businesses to online retailers, these pressures have the potential to have either a positive or negative effect. Some sellers will be driven by the growing pressures, providing a much-needed boost, while others may struggle to overcome them. These are some of the emerging pressures and how to make the most of them.
Whatever consumers want to purchase online, there are usually plenty of places that will sell the required products. Almost every industry and niche is covered by specialist online sellers, as well as many of the large online marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay offering the same such products.
Online marketplaces are placing the most pressure and providing the biggest challenge for other sellers, as they have the power to offer thousands of different products often at low prices. A 2017 Total Retail study found that 38% of UK online shoppers begin product searches at Amazon. This dominance makes it harder for new e-commerce businesses to get a foothold in the market and adds more pressure onto existing ones.
Consumers are being spoiled by the variety of delivery options that are available when buying items online, from same day delivery services to global parcel tracking. Not only that, but many do not expect to spend a lot on shipping costs, despite the added costs opting for last minute and package tracking can add on to the delivery.
A lack of checkout options for both payments and delivery can lead many consumers to purchase products elsewhere. For this reason, online sellers are under pressure to provide as many delivery options as possible, to avoid losing business. These need to include everything from same and next day, to time specific and parcel tracking delivery options to keep up with the bigger competition.
Changing Online Advertising
Many businesses are increasing their online advertising across social media channels, with sponsored content and banner ads increasing. As well as meaning other online sellers need to follow suit or find new places to advertise, it is also attracting consumers to buy products through social media platforms without thinking where they are coming from.
For overseas online sellers this is great, as they can reach out to a wider audience through social media ads. However, this can be taking business away from other online sellers and adds financial pressure to other sellers, as they will need to invest in similar ads to compete.
The more people travel, the more products and items they are exposed to. One study found that 63% of cross-border shoppers would visit a shop in another country and then order online from the same store when they return home. This is a growing trend where some mainly offline stores are providing pressure for online sellers. There are certain products most consumers would rather view in person before ordering online.
How to Relieve Sales Pressures
There are some ways your online sales business can reduce the pressures it may face, such as:
- Research competition: Look at your direct competitors and see what kind of advertising, parcel tracking, delivery services and products they are offering. This should show how you compare to them and if you need to make any changes.
- Offer many delivery options: From UK postal tracking to same day delivery, the more options you can offer at the checkout the better and Whistl parcel delivery services can help. The likes of quick delivery and parcel tracking may increase costs but it can also help increase sales.
- Avoid overpromising: With increasing pressure, it can be easy to start overpromising to customers. Avoid doing this as it will lead to a bigger mess, so instead remain realistic in your offerings.
- Advertise across channels: Grow your advertisements to attract new customers from different areas. Improving your customer base should better protect your online sales business should it encounter pressure elsewhere.
Prepare your online sales business for the increasing pressure it is likely to experience to ensure you stay ahead of the competition and can thrive in such a charged environment.