What is eCommerce and why should leisure venues care?
If you haven’t been living under a rock this whole year, then you are probably well-aware of the accelerated growth process that eCommerce has experienced during these last months. It’s like ‘he-who-shall-not-be-named’ has pulled the switch, truly.
Who? Well, you know, COVID-19, that is. Want it or not, the pandemic has forced us all to shift many of our activities and behaviours to the online world. That includes things like communication, teaching, learning, buying and selling. So even those who were not so used to messing around with electronic devices to do their groceries, or book tickets and experiences online, have also needed a crash-course on eCommerce.
Great example of it are the ‘boomers’.
Before, baby boomers did less than 50% of their purchases online, while now, ⅔ of them buy online. The main reason for it? Convenience. A convenience that many online shoppers have now ingrained into their buying habits and that is expected to make them continue using eCommerce long after the pandemic is over, giving businesses one more reason to invest in it.
However, for any brick and mortar company out there who is not familiarised with eCommerce, all of this can seem a little bit daunting at first.
“What do you mean by eCommerce? What is it, really?”
“How does it work? How does it fit a business like mine?”
“What skills and resources do I need for eCommerce?”
“What type of investment are we talking about?”
“What will I get in return?”
All of them very good and legitimate questions that I would definitely be asking myself as well. Which is why I want to make sure you walk out of this blog post with answers and knowing a little bit more about what this type of business model can bring to your leisure venue. Because trust us when we say, you should care.
Keeping an eye on eCommerce is not something you get to choose anymore. If you decide to ignore it, we can certainly tell you your competitors won’t. For one very simple reason: it’s the way your customers want to buy from you.
On the other hand, eCommerce has enabled some of the most iconic brick and mortar businesses like Target, Walmart or Best Buy, just to name a few, to supplement and partially substitute their presence with an online store that helps them target a wider market and sell through more efficient distribution channels.
Related read: If you are also looking to amplify your customer reach, read this.
E-commerce can come in many different flavours, but we can primarily categorise them into the following four major market segments:
- Business to Consumer (B2C)
- Business to Business (B2B)
- Consumer to Consumer (C2C)
- Consumer to Business (C2B)
As a leisure or attractions operator, you fall within the first group (B2C); you are a business that sells (surely awesome) entertainment and leisure experiences to your dear guests (consumers). Which you can do through different channels, right?
So, if you are not fed up with all the acronyms that I have been throwing around yet, allow me to introduce you to the fifth (and most advantageous) variant of eCommerce.
D2C, that is!
“Dee t2o wHaAt?”
Direct to consumer. An effective and simple way to sell online by having your own sales channel, through a web-shop. Your web-shop. And I am emphasising that because ownership is a key element when it comes to keeping control of your brand and creating strong relationships with your customers.
But there’s actually more - way more - to it.
Let me quickly walk you through the many benefits that selling directly to your customers through your own sales channel entails.
BENEFITS OF SELLING DIRECT TO CONSUMER:
1. You run your show. Meaning, you are not so influenced by and dependent on 3rd party channels and resellers.
2. You can give back the power to your brand by building way stronger bonds and relationships with your customers.
4. You get first hand customer data, which is an invaluable asset to improve your guest experience and reach operational excellence.
5. All in all, you are in full control. Of your sales, your prices, your fees, your brand image, your reputation, and most importantly, your data.
I mean, don't you want to get continuous feedback and insights about what your customers really want and how they behave?
With a direct to consumer eCommerce approach you can. You own all the valuable information that comes with every online activity and interaction innate to eCommerce.
D2C is a smarter and cheaper use of your sales channels and eliminates the barrier between you and your consumer, giving you greater control over your brand, reputation, marketing, and sales tactics.
So, in conclusion, while you may keep on selling offline, and online bookings might not be the only way forward, it surely is the smartest way forward.
A lack of online selling systems or outdated ones might cost you losing a big share of your audience and even revenue loss, while there are so many perks and gains in digitalising your leisure offering and bringing your customer experience online from the very first touchpoint throughout their whole journey.
E-Commerce is not a phase, it is here to stay. And if your leisure business is not already looking into omnichannel, direct, and online sales you’ve got some piled-up homework to do, because this is almost a thing of ‘yesterday’.
E-commerce is not the future.
E-commerce is now.
So the real question is, which flavour are you going to choose?
If you want to learn more about how your venue could easily start selling more direct, have a chat with our team of experts. They are always happy to clear any doubts you might have and point in the direction that is most suited to your specific situation.