Is It Too Late To Get Into Ecommerce?
The birth of eCommerce can be dated back to before the Internet era. In the late 1940s telex technology, an international message transfer service, was used to supply Berlin with food and other goods during the Berlin Blockade. This is the basis of all eCommerce: electronic messages being used to supply goods and services to people who need them.
We’ve come a long way since then.
The Internet gave eCommerce the rocket fuel it needed to scale massively. In a relatively short space of time, the Internet has revolutionized and normalized how we access goods and services. More and more people shop online, a trend accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
You might be forgiven, then, for thinking that the window of opportunity to start an eCommerce business has passed. It makes sense: as a society, we’re constantly obsessed with the “next big thing” and missing out on that. Much of the media likes to play that up to generate clicks and grab attention.
For eCommerce, now is actually the best time to get started. This is because of three main reasons:
- The growth potential of eCommerce markets
- Low barriers to entry into the eCommerce industry
- Rapidly changing technologies
Let’s dive in.
Here are 2 projections and 1 statistic to show the potential of eCommerce.
Ecommerce worth $7.4 trillion by 2025.
In many ways, the eCommerce industry is only just getting going. In 2021, retail eCommerce sales were around $4.9 trillion. This is forecasted to grow by another 50% by 2025, reaching $7.4 trillion. This kind of growth provides an incredible opportunity for those just starting out in eCommerce.
Think about it for a second. If you could only take a small part of that pie, what kind of impact would it have on your life? The prospects look good.
Five Billion Internet users in 2021.
It’s useful to look at it another way. As of 2021, there were 5 billion unique Internet users. Our human minds sometimes can’t conceptualize the scale of opportunity that’s available on the Internet because these numbers get so large. The potential feels almost infinite because of the numbers involved.
If you feel like there won’t be a market for what you have to offer, then remind yourself of these numbers. There is someone, somewhere that needs a product that you’ll be able to provide. And it’s not too late to start selling it to them.
Not only that, but the Internet is always acquiring more users. Around 63% of the world’s population uses the Internet. Another 2.8 billion people are without it, waiting to get online. It’s an ever-growing marketplace.
Online purchases will account for 24.5% of all sales by 2025.
Even as a proportion of sales, eCommerce still has plenty of room to grow. In 2021, 20% of retail sales were online. It’s expected that by 2025 this will increase to 24.5%.
That’s an increasing number of sales for you to capture.
It’s easy to think that your market is saturated and that you won’t find customers for your eCommerce store. On a day-to-day basis, our human minds can only take in so much of the world around us. But if you take these 3 little nuggets of knowledge into account, it’s clear that it is definitely not too late to get into eCommerce.
Why so much growth?
According to IBM, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the growth of eCommerce by about 5 years. The pandemic made it a necessity to buy items online and created a consumer expectation of fast delivery where you need it.
Mobile purchasing will be pushed further to the forefront in the coming years, as 5G networks expand across the globe and people use their smartphones to do more day-to-day activities. Being able to shop anywhere will increase the opportunity for people to buy products online.
Coupled with mobile growth is social buying. This is also driving increases in eCommerce sales as people continue to expand what they buy through social media. Brand awareness and loyalty have been won and lost on social platforms over the years and these spaces have become key arenas for eCommerce businesses where they can gather leads and sell to their customers.
Setting Up Shop is Easy
While it isn’t too late to start, it also isn’t too early. In fact, it’s the perfect moment. Now, more than ever before, you have all you need at your fingertips to launch your own eCommerce business.
Easy to Use Platforms
Things have come a long way from the days of coding a website from scratch. Today, you can set up an eCommerce website in minutes using the many eCommerce platforms available. Providers such as WooCommerce, Shopify, Squarespace, and GrooveKart® make it simple to get your store up and running.
These platforms allow you to access store templates and themes, so you’re never stuck staring at a blank screen. Depending on the platform and the plan you pay for, they’ll have some way of adding products, creating variants, selling products, receiving money from your customers, creating drop ship orders, processing refunds, tracking orders, just about everything you need to get going.
The barrier to entry has never been lower. Couple this with the massive scope for growth available online, and it’s a perfect time to start your eCommerce business.
Products for Everyone from Everywhere
Most people think they need to buy or create their own stock to start selling online. This is one way to do it and some people do it this way, but starting an eCommerce business doesn’t have to involve renting a warehouse and buying stock.
First of all, it can tie your business capital up in inventory - never a good thing if you need cash fast. Secondly, you could see the market shift and be left with stock that you can’t sell. To be honest, buying inventory from the start is not the best way to start an eCommerce store if you’re just trying it out to see what works.
That’s where drop shipping comes into the mix. Drop shipping allows you to accept orders from your customer and then pass them on to another company to create and deliver the product for you. It’s a perfect way to get started, and many of the leading platforms offer integrations with drop shippers so you can create your own range of products and see what works straight away.
So you don’t need to worry about the rising costs of warehousing or consumer goods, thinking it’s too late to start your eCommerce business. There’s plenty of product options out there by using drop shipping.
The Internet Has All The Answers
The Internet doesn’t just have a variety of tools to help you build an eCommerce store. It also holds an incredible wealth of knowledge from experienced business leaders from around the world.
Many people have started profitable eCommerce businesses, and they want to share their knowledge, often for free. A simple Google search shows that there is a huge amount of information about how to get into eCommerce, with very few people saying it’s too late to get started (for the reasons we talked about above). Blog posts, YouTube videos, podcasts, courses, eBooks… the list is endless.
There is a huge amount of information at your fingertips, so take advantage of this unique opportunity.
Developments in how we interact online also demonstrate that it’s not too late to get into eCommerce.
New (and not so new) technologies such as machine learning (ML), artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality, blockchain, cryptocurrency, and the coming of Web3 will mean there will be new and exciting opportunities in the eCommerce space.
Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence
Along with many other areas of life, eCommerce will be impacted by ML and AI.
As algorithms become more “clever,” the customer experience will be honed beyond just presenting recommended products. Price optimization, smarter segmentation, and even customer predictions will become increasingly relevant and easier to access as a result of ML and AI. This offers opportunities to those just getting started in eCommerce as they can quickly utilize these technologies to create closer customer relationships which drive up their revenue.
Moving From Web 2 Into Web 3
Built around blockchain technology, using augmented reality, AI, ML, and cryptocurrency, Web 3 promises to turn eCommerce on its head.
As customers become increasingly immersed in an online world, the way they interact with eCommerce brands will change. Imagine being able to buy products for use both online and offline, creating the need for double fulfillment for eCommerce stores - in reality and in the virtual world. The way people interact with eCommerce storefronts will also change, opening the possibility of integrating all brick and mortar stores with online spaces through augmented reality.
The challenge this presents for eCommerce business owners is fascinating. More focus will need to be given to building meaningful customer relationships, creating memorable brand identities, and providing compelling shopping experiences to engage to grab and keep attention in a rapidly changing online space.
Never Too Late
In a world where everything seems to have already moved online and is more connected than ever, it can feel like there’s no room for new players online. As we’ve seen, this is just a perception and not backed up by reality.
We’ve seen that with the way the eCommerce industry is growing, there’s more than enough room for new players. It’s fast growth, easy setup, and changing technology should encourage you: it’s not too late to enter eCommerce - it’s actually only just getting started. The barriers to entry are lower than ever, and you don’t need a lot to set up an eCommerce storefront. The moment is ripe for capitalizing on the vast potential in this space.
There’s also so much to look forward to in the world of eCommerce as new technologies continue to create a massive impact. It’s an invigorating time to be in the world of online business as changes in the way we live are accelerated by technology and world events.
Be careful that you aren’t left behind by thinking it’s too late - it’s not!