For high street shops and small business owners, trying to contend with the online alternatives can often be extremely difficult. It is arguably constantly getting more trying; the further time goes on.
UK shoppers alone spend more than £558 million per week on online shopping, so keeping up with those figures is a real challenge for physical stores.
Though, you can’t simply set up an eCommerce website and expect the sales to come flying in, brands still have to be established online and companies have to ultimately make a name for themselves, just as they would on the high street, in order to get the trust of their audience. Having large scale sales events also helps them; last year there were around £720 million worth of UK online sales made on Cyber Monday. What followed this was a record breaking month for online sales last December, too.
We will now take you through some ways of how you could potentially grow your online business and unlock its maximum potential in terms of both sales and reputation.
Rise of online shopping
Online sales rose by 52.7% year-on-year in August 2020 (in value terms and non-seasonally adjusted), compared to an 11.6% rise in the same month of 2019. Evidence is that that the exponential growth in ecommerce seen in previous months has now shown the rise of online shopping has begun to slow.
Nevertheless, the struggles of physical retailers continue. For this reason, the Government has extended its ban on evictions of retail tenants by landlords. This provides some comfort to the sector, which has warned the end of the ban could lead to a surge in store closures and job losses. The concession is part of a rebalancing of power in this space. Landlords have historically seen near-continuous growth in rents. Whilst retailers are keen to build market share by expanding their physical footprints, the growth of ecommerce has changed that dynamic. Turnover-based agreements have become increasingly common.
As retail looks to the future, the sector is reflecting on three trends that have emerged amid the pandemic:
- channel shift – a move to online retail, but also towards more localised shopping and to a preference for open-air retail venues, such as retail parks
- spending transfers – consumers are spending less on restaurants, travel and holidays, and commuting. Saving is increasing, as is spending on groceries
- lifestyle changes – with people working from home and spending more of their leisure time there too, they’re more likely to be cooking from scratch and engaging in home improvement activities.
Current UK online shopping trends to be aware of
Online shopping within the UK is set to rise by a whopping 30% over the next four years, which proves our ever-growing love for buying products via the internet is only progressing. Regardless of what kind of business you run, whether it’s a record shop or a fashion retailer, having a website is clearly a sure fire way to increase the size of your custom.
When it comes to striking at the right time, if you make sure you have a website set up and ready to go for Christmas time, you’re sure to reap the benefits, as 55% of all holiday transactions take place online.
Popular Sectors for Online Shopping
If your business focuses on items in the sportswear, clothing, travel, ticketing, or household goods categories you need to start focusing on online sales in order to maximise profits.
Clothing and sportswear are the two current largest sectors for e-commerce, closely followed by household goods, travel arrangements and event tickets, which were purchased online in 2019 by more than 40% of the UK’s population.
Online shopping certainly accounts for an increasing proportion of total sales, but the high street is most certainly not down for the count yet. There are many areas in which success is quite clear, especially over recent months.
Even for vendors who’ve been unable to fight-off online competition, there is still a high level of hope to be found if you go looking for it.
A strong example of this was when entertainment retailer Zavvi, was forced into an unwanted insolvency in 2009, it fought its way to survive as an online distributor of DVDs, film merchandise, and home ware. Up to now, Savvy is thriving and can continue on with a positive outlook after recently celebrating its 10th birthday as a highly successful online retailer.
Always be planning for the future of your online business
You may have created a business plan before the very start of your venture, but periods of time that require further future planning present themselves again every so often. Shutdown periods, such as this current national lockdown of sorts, gives you the opportunity to develop ideas for how you can progress your business when things are a little more back to normal.
Ponder the thoughts of how you can develop your business by making a minimalistic business plan update, setting some goals out for yourself and working out how to reach objectives you’ve had a for a while now.
The online business statistics you need to know about
WP Forms has gathered stats from all over the internet to bring you up to speed with the latest sales statistics from online-based companies. The have researched that:
- 6 out of every 10 small businesses in 2018 don’t have a website for their business. (Devrix)
- 35% of small business owners feel that their business is too small for a website.
- 19% of small business owners without a website believe that their business would grow 25% in three years or less with the benefit of a website.
- 46% of small businesses didn’t have a web presence in 2018. (The Balance Small Business)
- 55% of people will search online for reviews and recommendations before making a purchase, with 47% visiting the company website, 26% checking out the physical store, and 23% of people talking with friends and family. (KPMG)
Define your own brand
Your business needs to know its own identity before it can expect anyone else to become familiar with it. So, take your business concept and pour it into your branding. You need to allow the imagery surrounding your venture to define your branding and your business. Let your chosen designs, as well as how you display them across your business, tell the average consumer what your business actually is. This way they don’t have to do the research themselves and they will become far more invested, far quicker.
Looking to grow your business without all the required effort?
There are other, easier ways to grow your business however, such as applying for a Merchant Cash Advance with PDQ Funding.
One of the main benefits and advantages of the product is its ability to be scalable. Every business owner runs into the need for working capital from time to time. But, where do you go to get it, especially when your bank won’t even consider your funding request? There is a finance solution for businesses that take credit cards & debit card payments. In fact, you could get cash from the sales you haven’t even made yet. Turn tomorrow’s credit & debit card sales into today’s cash flow.
There is no faster, safer or easier way to get unsecured business funding. The business cash advance is classed as a short term working capital loan. This is because they have a term time of a maximum 18 – 24 months.
If this sounds like a good option for your business venture, you can find out more details, speak to an expert member of our team, and apply today.