100 billion (or so) reasons you should think about e-commerce

On 27/11/2009

In E-commerce

Did you ever wonder just what the big deal with e-commerce is? Let me help you. Try to imagine a business selling stuff that's been around for a long time (i.e. established products in an established market). Picked one? Good. Now picture that business experiencing double-digit sales growth - year in, year out – just because the owners of that business chose to make a website to sell their stuff online. By now, you should start to get an idea of why, even today, some people still tend to get a little excited at the mere mention of the word.

So I'll mention it, just for you: “e-commerce”. There, excited?

To put things into perspective, here's some figures showing the value of US e-commerce retail sales over the last couple of decades:

  • 1990:  $US0
  • 2000:  $US29,000,000,000
  • 2007:  $US127,000,000,000*

Excited now? If you have a business (whether or not you have a business website as well), then you should be.

That's a lot of money – about the same size as the economy of New Zealand** – and you can double those figures if you want to include online payment for services like airline tickets. Put another way, that makes it a little over $US425 for every single person living in the US.

It would be nice to think that this spending was new, but you'd be wrong if you did. Rather, it's a shift in the way money is spent: from one model of shopping (in a store at the local mall or on the high street) to another (from home). In this context, to ignore it would be foolhardy, yet it's not necessarily well suited to all types of sales. Amazon got it right with books and CDs, whereas buying clothes online is still a little difficult for some (like me).

Whatever kind of business you're in, you should seriously consider your online sales strategy; don't discount the web just because you don't think it's right for what you sell. Imagine, just a few years ago, would anyone seriously have considered buying a car online?

While you're thinking about your online strategy, you'll want to pencil in January 2010: doomby's e-commerce solution is just around the corner. In the meantime, you can check out our integrated PayPal sales solution on our doombyPLUS demo website.

*source: US Census Bureau. 2007 figures latest available at time of publication.
** source: CIA World Factbook