Commerce data says online sales growth continues to outpace broad retail
Quarterly retail eCommerce sales data just released by the U.S. Department of Commerce suggest that online sales growth continues to outpace that of retail generally. According to the data, eCommerce sales for the most recent quarter (Q2 2016) grew 4.5% over the previous quarter. Total retail sales over the same period, however, grew by only 1.5%. Comparing year-over-year periods for eCommerce and total retail sales, the rates were 15.8% and 5.7% respectively. While the data suggest that retail sales aren't as sour as some have suggested, it's clear just how much eCommerce and online payments continue as the pace car for retail sales—their growth is 3x that of overall retail sales. It's enough to suggest that it would be a crime for you not to be online. So what is your small business doing about eCommerce, about going online? It's a pretty big opportunity when you think that online payments aren't just about "traditional" eCommerce anymore. Let's look at some of things you should be thinking about.
When should you consider going online?
Are you selling the same products to the same people time after time? Notice that more purchases are coming from repeat visitors who are outside of your immediate area? For example, if your business is located in a popular tourist or seasonal destination, you might find a lot of business from frequent visitors or part-time residents who spend a significant amount of time away from where your business is located. What if you could sell to them online without physical barrier? What if you could sell them a prescribed monthly basket of their favorite items, and what if you could pick-pack-and-ship that to them without them needing to be present. You could bill them much in the same way, without them or their card or payment form present. This is a classic example of how eCommerce and online payments have taken such an important place in the world of selling today. What if your business doesn't sell things, but rather sells a service, whether one-time or repeat. You can lessen some of the need for physical staffing and payment taking with online capabilities in place. That approach is a classic example of a recurring payment, think your cable bill or smartphone carrier payment. They happen again and again without us having to do much. If your business is a bit bigger, with lots of recurring payments, read about Vantiv Xcelerator capabilities in our enterprise online business conversation.
Whatever you sell or whatever your service, for smaller businesses selling mostly in-store, the process to go online can seem daunting or even unnecessary. It doesn't have to be. And, the opportunities for you could be great. There are a variety of options available to you. If it's right for your business, you might come to someone like Vantiv directly, opening a merchant account and the like. If your business is smaller, you might come to Vantiv through a platform, such as an eCommerce provider, that often gives you all the web services and tools you need to build an online presence. You might also connect to Vantiv through one of the many so-called payment facilitators. Payment facilitators, or PayFacs, typically serve as the master merchant. Many platforms are also PayFacs, which allow you to snap into them and the value-added services they provide, including our payments, without the hassle of managing your own merchant account relationship.
Whatever your need, the demand for more goods and services delivered digitally is also driving more payments volume into the card-not-present realm of online payments. It's time for you to consider their role in your business. Spend more time here on Vantiv.com with online payments.