If you are retailer, big or small, you should already have an online e-commerce presence. If not, you could be losing out on an extra 10% in sales revenue. The Interactive Media Group reports that online shoppers spent 5.7 billion pounds in April 2012, which is a 10% increase over figures for the same period last year.
Specifically, these are the main industry sectors recording high activity:
Health and Beauty: 40%
Consumer Electronics: 26%
Clothing, footwear and accessories: 1%
Beer, wine and spirits: 1%
Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, Internet Retailer confirms that U.S. e-commerce sales totaled $50.27 billion in the first quarter, up 15.4% from $43.58 billion in the first quarter of 2011, according to an estimate released today by the U.S. Commerce Department.
What makes the above even more significant is that it’s the first time e-commerce sales have exceeded $50 billion outside the 4th quarter, the busiest quarter for online sales because of holiday and vacation shopping.
“This change means sales attributed to food and beverage stores are now included in the calculation, as grocery shopping can be done online in many areas. Consumers last year spent an estimated $479 million with online grocer Peapod LLC, No. 52 in Internet Retailer’s 2012 Top 500 Guide, for example,” said Internet Retailer.
Getting an e-commerce online shop up and running is now easier than ever, with a variety of plug-and-play tools being made available by leading UK web hosting companies. They even include social media integration, including Facebook, via drag and drop interfaces which allow users to deploy widgets in one-click.
They are also optimized for mobile platforms, including the iPhone and iPad. By 2013 most users will access the web from their Smartphone devices leading to new opportunities and challenges for online retailers.
Consider recent news that UK PayPal users can pay via a mobile app at 230 Coast, Oasis, Warehouse and Karen Millen stores. This is just one example of the rapid innovation taking place in e-commerce and mobile platforms generally.
“E-commerce is growing gradually; retail shopping is sort of flat. But where’s there’s the most activity is in smartphone shopping on the high street,” said PayPal.
Even Google likes these optimized online shopping carts that provide flexible layouts and search-engine friendly meta tags and product descriptions. Sitemaps round off powerful SEO features, allowing search engines to easily crawl your site and product areas.
Plus, you will not need to know any HTML or programming languages to implement your custom shopping cart solution.
By 2013, e-commerce sales may rise by another 10-20%. In these tough times, launching an e-commerce store with a few mouse clicks seems like a no brainer!
Guest Blogger: Jason Stevens from jason-stevens.com / Freelance web developer, tech writer and follower of cloud computing trends. Follow him on Twitter @_jason_stevens_
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