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Get Paid Online | The Ultimate Guide to Online Stores

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Miranda Russell | October 21, 2021

“Why is it so important to have an online presence and six things to remember when you're getting started. (Updated 2022)”
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    Last Updated on December 20, 2022 by Ryleigh Stangness

    In this series, we'll discuss why your business needs an online store in 2022 to be relevant and take advantage of the key benefits. Finally, we will get into what you need to get started and which features to consider when building your online store for the first time or updating your existing website.

    Many businesses had to find ways to diversify and stay afloat during the era of contactless pickup and closures to in-person shopping as you well know. Since then, adding omnichannel retail and payment solutions has made businesses not only more adaptable and resilient but relevant in 2022.

    An eCommerce website also gives you several key benefits, including:

    • An easy way to reach more customers and secure more sales.
    • Adds resilience by providing alternate ways for you to get paid if you experience a disruption to your traditional in-person payment experience.
    • Builds brand awareness and trust
    • Gives your customers more flexibility through a faster buying process right from their smartphone or home computer.
    • Reduces overhead costs
    • Creates a market edge among competitors by enabling your customers to compare products and prices.

    Why an Online Store is Important in 2022

    By now, you've probably heard the 2021's infamous buzzword "pivot," almost nearly as much as the word "eCommerce" since the COVID-19 pandemic.

    At the beginning of 2020, Statista predicted that global eCommerce sales would reach $4.2 trillion and makeup 16% of total retail sales by 2021.

    Some industry experts stated that eCommerce had moved forward by ten years in just the first few months of the pandemic.

    Turns out that retail sales surpassed Statista's original predictions for 2021 with "17.1 percent growth in global e-commerce compared to 2020." With e-commerce contributing a hefty, "19 percent of all retail sales worldwide."

    Let's dig into the importance of having an online store and those benefits a little deeper before looking at the next steps to determine exactly which features you should look for when comparing your options and how to get started creating an online business.

    Benefits of having an online store for your business

    Easy, low-cost way to reach more customers:

    Insider Intelligence estimates that eCommerce sales will grow to an impressive five trillion worldwide in 2022 and another trillion two years later. Supply is evolving to meet the demands of consumer habits, with customers coming to expect businesses to have online stores.

    If your customers are looking for your products or services, you can bet they are looking on Google. The key to being findable and accessing this vast market? Well, you have to get online first.

    Having an online location to host your products with a way for your customers to find you, browse, and checkout in an easy and intuitive manner is easier than you think.

    The last thing you need when trying to create a low-maintenance platform for your customers to find your business online is an expensive and time-consuming solution. Luckily, online stores are easy to set up, and some payment processors will include access to a free online checkout with your existing account. If this is the case, getting started can be as easy as clicking the "Feature Online" button in your product listing. Having an online checkout included as part of your merchant account makes it easy to keep all your transaction data in one place, set up your store faster, and reach more customers, all without costing your business extra time and money.

    Adds resilience to your business model:

    The pandemic made one thing clear: eCommerce is a lifeline for cutting costs while reaching customers wherever they are without a physical location.

    Having alternate options for customers who wanted to shop safely from their homes allowed them to support local businesses during more challenging times. An online store makes it easy for customers to order and receive products from anywhere. This means that if your business ever had to cut costs during a recession or face closing your brick-and-mortar storefront, you could still reach loyal and even new customers.

    Even if you're not offering delivery yet, customers embrace placing online orders that allow for quick pickup at the business location.

    Convenient 24/7 shopping for customers:

    One of the best parts of having an online store is that it keeps working even when you're not. Customers can submit orders at any time of day, so you can easily find yourself waking up with an inbox full of orders —something that can't happen with traditional brick and mortar stores. Adding detailed pickup, shipping, or delivery instructions to your checkout page helps set customer expectations upfront and gives you the time you need to get their orders ready once received.

    Diversifies your income streams:

    The word pivot might be one of the official slogans of 2020. Small business owners everywhere have demonstrated their creativity, resilience, and ability to adapt time and time again as they adjust to constantly changing regulations, health guidelines, new bylaws, and customer demands.

    Adding digital tools to your business toolbox helps businesses become more resilient by removing the reliance on just in-person payments as an income stream. Having an online store created and ready to go makes it easy to redirect customers if you decide to cut the overhead costs of a physical location.

    It's easier for customers to support your business:

    One of the advantages that small businesses have over their larger counterparts is the personal connection and relationship that they build with their customers. Your customers truly believe in your business and want to help support you, particularly when they know it has been a tough year. Sharing your business journey and being transparent with your customers means a lot more than when you're a big box store. Most customers will be happy to support you and order through your online store, especially when you let them know why you set it up and how much their orders mean to you.

    What about service-based businesses?

    Don't overlook the importance of having an online store if you're a service-based business, there are still plenty of benefits that can apply to your business. Here are a few different ways your service-based business might utilize an online store:

    • Offer gift cards for purchase
    • Highlight merchandise or products you do sell, for example, a spa might offer lotions or aromatherapy items for purchase
    • Let customers register for memberships or subscription package to your services
    • Give customers the option to book and pay for services before they visit your business

    Ready to Create Your Online Store?

    Every Helcim account includes access to The Online Checkout that you can set up in minutes so you can reach customers anywhere. Online orders automatically sync with your account, so all your payment information is available in one place — and you can get paid faster. Learn more about the Helcim Online Checkout.

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