Online grocery sales are booming. Analysts estimate that by 2025, Americans will spend a whopping $100 billion or more on food from online sources. This gargantuan number isn’t surprising, given that over 26 billion devices will be connected to the internet by next year alone.
Big name corporations are taking advantage of these consumer trends. Domino’s allows users to order pizza from Alexa by simply saying, “Alexa, open Domino’s and place my Easy Order.” Amazon users can already order household items like toilet paper and laundry detergent with a simple voice command.
With the convenience of click-of-a-button orders and voice command enabled devices, shoppers are widely benefiting too. But these features don’t have to be exclusive to grocery giants like Amazon and Kroger. Small businesses can level the playing field by setting up their own online shops.
What online platforms can my business use?
Businesses looking to get online have two main options: create a website or join an online marketplace.
For individual websites, vendors sell products directly from their own platform. With online marketplaces (like Mercato), buyers can browse different sellers at once. A shopper can buy craft cheese from your store and then seamlessly buy fresh vegetables from another.
How do I create a website?
Building a website has never been easier. A fully-functional website for your business can be created in minutes and there are site-builders that fit every budget, need, and skillset. Recently, PC Magazine compiled a list of 2019’s top 10 website builders for small businesses.
Coding skills are not required for any of these platforms. Most companies offer built-in templates and search engine optimization (SEO) and mobile-friendly layouts.
Wix users can design their own website or use the Artificial Design Intelligence software. With the Wix ADI, business owners can answer a few questions and a website is generated instantly. The site allows vendors to create a storefront, manage orders and inventory, and offer multiple payment options to customers. Wix takes 0% commission on all sales and gives businesses complete control of the website. Custom rules for taxation and delivery are available too. Basic business plans start at $25 per month.
Duda is another fan-favorite among merchants. Operating similarly to Wix, users can create their own SEO-friendly websites. Duda offers pre-designed (but editable) sections from the Section Builder to ease the creative process. If you love an existing design you’ve created, you can even save it as a template and use it for later designs. The company is known for its sleek mobile websites, so smartphone shoppers are guaranteed to have a smooth experience. The Team online store plan starts at $22.50 per month. Duda also offers a 30-day free trial period, for anyone testing the waters.
Squarespace is great for any business looking to sell a ton of items. With Squarespace, there’s no limit how many items you can sell and what kinds of support you can provide your customers. If there are certain products that you’d like to “shelve” until you’re ready to sell them, Squarespace allows you to adjust the visibility of the product and schedule when you’re ready for the product to be sold. Customers can even sign up for product subscriptions. The basic plan for online businesses starts at $26 per month.
What are the benefits of online marketplaces?
Joining an online marketplace like Mercato is simple. Online marketplaces can also be leveraged in tandem with your website.
Your website is the place to tell the story of your store, your values, and your brand. Not only can you share your story, but you can create an online experience that is consistent with in-store.
Customers buy from several vendors
Data shows that customers often purchase their groceries from several vendors. By joining an online marketplace, customers are able to purchase from your “store” while shopping from another vendor. It is much simpler for them to make a purchase from you once they are already in the marketplace than if they were to seek or discover your store independently.
Marketing made easy
Marketplace managers can track trends and customer behavior across stores and food types. Given the broad range of data, advice for marketing, sales, and inventory is readily available. Targeted Facebook advertisements, retention campaigns, and promo codes are some of the many benefits.
Third-party marketplaces like Mercato handle orders, deliveries, reviews and offer customer support. Instead of making time and financial investments on setting up a website and tend to all the headaches, online marketplaces do all that for you.
Can your online presence boost your sales?
To boost your online shop’s sales, you can establish an online presence. A recent study by the Pew Research Center showed that the majority of Americans are using Facebook. The number of Americans using other platforms like Instagram and Twitter are steadily increasing year after year.
With social media, you can engage with a community (which means potential shoppers) and market your business. Advertising on these platforms will give you a leg up on companies that aren’t.
In the increasingly digital age, bringing your business online is proving to be vital. Based on your shop’s needs, you can decide whether a website, online marketplace (or both) are right for you.