In what we hope will quickly become a post-coronavirus world, many retailers now consider online shopping as their preferred path to increased sales revenue. Why?
Traditionally Cyprus has been slow to adapt to online shopping. We think that primarily this was based on concerns regarding order fulfilment, stock management and security. Retailers have been reticent to begin online sales due to a misunderstanding about the costs of creating an e-commerce store.
UPDATE: 25th October 2020 – looks like; as have so many people, we’ve been a little optimistic that this could be over this year. However, now there are even more reasons why you could consider moving customer-facing tasks online where possible. If you need some help please, get in touch.
Covid-19: 42% intend to shop online more regularly post coronavirus epidemic.
The uptake in online shopping worldwide, therefore, cannot be ignored. It certainly makes sense for the vast majority of Cypriot businesses to make a small investment now to sell remotely throughout this island, or overseas. Online sales streamline your business and provide tangible benefits. And, we’re not just talking about selling physical products. An online shop also includes subscriptions and membership, software downloads, car rentals, boat trips, concert tickets and much more.
Furthermore, shopping online at your store will not prevent customers from demanding the appropriate level of service and support from you. Marks & Spencer in the UK, for example, send out customers clothing orders that if when tried on are not suitable they can be returned free of charge.
Statista & Google Online Shopping reports:
- E-Commerce sales to reach $4.2 Trillion by the end of 2020, and that figure has more than tripled in the last six years. Online sales are expected o hit $6.5 Trillion by 2023.
- 75% of people shop online at least once a month.
- 63% of shopping trips begin online.
- Mobile devices accounted for almost half (49.2%) of all online shopping sales in 2020, and this number should increase to 54% next year.
- Your website navigation and search tools are critical for an excellent online shopping experience. Product ratings and reviews are the second most crucial element.
- Extra costs are the number one reason for shopping cart abandonment and forcing a shopper to create an account is the second.
Our day to day lives is continually moving more and more online. As much as we enjoy paying for things over-the-counter this recent upheaval in all of our lives has us paying simple things; such as the Electric Bill online. In many ways, that is a pity because it’s another lost interaction with another human being.
And, we all enjoy the skirmish between ourselves and any sales team, whether that’s an electrical shop, computer shop or other retailers from whom we want a deal. And, it can be fun to barter and negotiate better prices. It has proven vital to at least pick-up-the-phone this year in Cyprus instead of paying online.
Booking hotel rooms?
Some hotels in Cyprus are currently offering rooms at the same rate or even higher than last year – despite the massive drop in demand and therefore occupancy. Calling them on the phone and requesting a discount means that ‘guests’ are getting a far better deal than if they had booked online.
Online shopping transactions have been pain-free for many years through gateways such as PayPal and Stripe. But, that does come at a premium cost to the seller. Paypal, for example, charges 2.9% (minimum) plus €0.30 transaction fee. That may not seem like a lot of money, but scaled-up over many online sales and it has an impact on a businesses bottom-line. Many companies mitigate this by increasing the cost of their products sold online to cover those processing fees.
In Cyprus, however, we have JCC, an online processing system that business owners far less if the buyer is using the right type of card. Typically, JCC costs shop owners 1.06-1.16% in processing fees for debit and credit cards. And, a maximum of 2% for card-holder not present. That is quite a difference, even when you consider the €200 annual cost following the free first year. JCC services include 3D Secure (Verified by Visa and MasterCard SecureCode), so it is as safe to use as any other card processing service.
JCC is majority-owned by the Bank of Cyprus and Hellenic Bank. And, has had a six-year monopoly in credit card processing and clearing in Cyprus. Its only competitor IMSP collapsed in 2014 when its parent the Federal Bank of the Middle East was shut down following US-imposed money laundering charges. At that time, IMSP had a 4% market share.
Now is the time that all Cypriot business owners consider adding online shopping to their future revenue stream.
Even though our business digitizes other businesses, we do not advocate for lost personal interactions. Yet, things are no longer typical. We’ll put our masks on for the essentials (milk, bread – beer) – but perhaps we will not visit DIY Stores when we can quickly research products and buy online. Ordering online is not only a convenient way of shopping but also prudent.
Say No to a cashless society.
Cash is crucial to the economy and to those people that couldn’t possibly function without it. For example, kids washing cars, you’re not going to pay them via PayPal or JCC – they need the cash for their own needs. We should all reject a cashless society. It’s dangerous and authoritarian – we don’t need it.
So, how do we get our business to sell online?
That’s simple. There are many ways. And, with the right tools, you can be selling online within a weekend. If you use WordPress, we use an excellent Cypriot made plugin that will integrate your products and payments through the JCC gateway.
Talk to us about getting your business and website ready for online sales in Cyprus. It is a lot easier than you might think. And, the transition to online shopping is simple and painless. Don’t believe us? Then get in touch.
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