E-commerce is one of the fastest-growing industries around the world. There are new online stores emerging almost every day. Some even use Facebook groups and pages or Instagram to start their business and sell products.
But social media groups aren’t sustainable. They don’t provide you with data or analytics about where your customers are coming from and how to grow.
That’s why, eventually, small e-commerce businesses will need websites to have better control over their sales and engage with customers.
So, why should e-commerce businesses consider creating a website?
In this article, we’ll explore the top trends and statistics driving e-commerce globally and in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. We’ll also highlight the top reasons why websites are important for online businesses.
E-commerce trends, statistics and forecasts
Whether customers are shopping via websites or mobile apps, the competition is strong and continuously growing. But what does the data have to say about e-commerce growth and shopper behavior?
Let’s find out.
The global retail e-commerce market has been growing steadily since 2021, where it stood at $5.211 trillion. This figure is expected to reach $6.310 trillion in 2023 and to rise to $8.148 billion by 2026. (Insider Intelligence and Forbes Advisor)
In today’s retail market, most shoppers begin their “first touchpoint” with a business, online. Having an online business provides you with a safe and cost-effective alternative to having a physical store.
“The focus is shifting to establishing a web presence that can capture online sales,” reports Forbes.
Using no-code website builders like HBM makes it easier and faster for entrepreneurs with no technical background to launch websites. It’s also a less expensive investment compared to renting physical space in a mall or shopping area.
Moreover, businesses looking to grow in the long-term will need to have an online presence. The best way to do so is by launching a website.
Forbes Advisors expects 24% of all retail purchases to take place online by 2026.
Largest e-commerce markets
As for the largest markets by e-commerce revenue, China remains the top contender with $1,54 trillion in e-commerce revenue in 2022.
The US comes in second with $870.78 billion in e-commerce revenue, followed by Japan with $128 billion.
The UK and Germany come in fourth and fifth with $118 billion and $109 billion e-commerce revenue in 2022, respectively. (Manaferra)
Website traffic statistics
When you have a question, what do you do? You ‘google’ it.
How do customers find products? They can either visit a website they know or google a product they need.
And because everyone is googling everything, Google accounts for a “staggering” 93% of global traffic.
Let’s say your website sells coffee and tea products. If a customer searches for coffee products on Google, will your site and products show up in search results?
The answer depends on whether you’re using search engine optimization (SEO) tactics for your e-commerce product pages. This means using certain tags and keywords to help Google understand what your website is about so it can show it to customers.
If you don’t optimize your site, you’ll lose web traffic, which will hurt your sales and revenues.
E-commerce industry statistics
Wondering which industry has the highest share in e-commerce? It’s the global fashion industry, which grossed $871.2 billion in e-commerce sales in 2022.
A close second is the consumer electronics sector, whose global online sales amounted to $765.7 billion in 2022. Ranking in third place is the toys, hobby, and do-it-yourself (DIY) sector with $601.7 billion in revenues, followed by furniture with $387.7 billion. (Data Reportal)
Although fashion is the highest-grossing industry, the food sector is the fastest-growing e-commerce sector. In terms of revenue, the online food & beverage sector ranks sixth with $244 billion. (Data Reportal)
E-commerce statistics in the MENA region
In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, e-commerce is booming too. You may notice an uptick in e-commerce, and mobile commerce, transactions in some countries over others.
Business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) is forecast to reach $116.8 billion in 2023, according to Research and Markets.
MEA B2C e-commerce “promises to be attractive,” the research firm says, forecasting the region’s compound annual growth rate (CAGR) to reach 9.64% between 2023 and 2027.
Moreover, B2C e-commerce gross merchandise value (GMV) for the MEA region is expected to jump to $168.8 billion by 2027 from $103.8 billion in 2022.
Though Egypt is the most populous Arab nation, the UAE and Saudi markets are considered the largest e-commerce markets in the MENA region. (Virto Commerce)
13+ reasons why websites are important for retailers
Now it’s time to look at the top reasons entrepreneurs and business owners need a website.
1. Better online presence and availability
Unlike having a physical store where you’re limited by working hours and location, a website doesn’t have these limitations.
One of the benefits of having a retail website is that your products are available to customers all day long. They can visit your website at midnight, 4 a.m. or at 12 p.m.
You can keep your business running overnight by adding an AI-powered chatbot. It can respond to basic questions or collect leads and complaints, so can follow up on them the next morning.
2. Larger target audience
Besides being available round-the-clock, a website allows you to cater to a larger audience.
Regardless of where customers are in your country or the world, they can access your website and view your products.
3. Access to analytics and insights
One of the top reasons why websites are important for retailers, and all kinds of businesses, is that they offer insights and analytics.
You can use free or paid tools to gather data. The most commonly-used free analytics tools are Google Analytics and Google Search Console. Using a website builder can offer some basic analytics as well.
Website analytics can help you discover where customers are coming from, the top pages and products they’re visiting, among others.
4. Higher credibility
Today, if you want to know more about a company, the first thing you’ll do is google it. You’ll search for its website to learn more.
This means people find brands with websites more credible than those without or those who operate from Instagram or Facebook.
5. Localization benefits
Reaching more audiences in different countries often requires website translation. However, some website builders like HBM offer the additional benefit of website localization.
This means you can translate your website into several languages directly from the builder.
6. More opportunities with email marketing
Having a website means you can easily build an email list. Ask visitors to subscribe to your newsletter by adding a section in the footer or a pop-up on your homepage.
Email marketing offers tons of opportunities for online retailers including better opportunities for increasing sales. This is especially the case if you’re using email segmentation.
7. Track sales and returns
Another reason why websites are important is that they help you see how your business is performing. This includes being able to track sales and returns.
Is there an increase in the number of returned items? You may need to check your ads or if you’re sending out wrong sizes. Alternatively, it could be that your product descriptions are misleading.
8. Create customer loyalty
Another reason why websites are great for retailers is that you can add many integrations to support your business.
Customer loyalty and rewards programs are among those integrations you can use. Not only do they help you build customer loyalty and increase retention, but also can boost your revenues.
Most loyalty programs include a referral marketing program. This lets you grow your customer base through your current customers.
9. Faster communication
Another perk of having a website is that it’s much easier to communicate with customers. They can ask questions via your website's chatbot and they will get a response directly.
You can create a frequently-asked questions (FAQs) page and provide online customer support. Having an FAQs page also saves time for your customer support team.
10. Be on equal footing with the competition
As many retailers go online, or even start online, the competition increases. You’d be lagging behind your competitors if they have an active, optimized website and you don’t.
You’d also be missing out on the various opportunities to grow your business and customer base.
11. Create online-only discounts
Unlike having a group or page on social media, websites allow you to create online-only discounts that can boost your traffic and sales.
This is a common e-commerce marketing tactic that businesses use to drive visitors to their website.
12. Create omnichannel experiences
Another benefit of having a website, especially as your business grows, is it helps you create an omnichannel marketing experience.
An omnichannel experience is when you want to communicate with customers across multiple platforms using the same tone and messaging.
This is an advanced online marketing tactic that involves having a website, mobile app, and a physical store. Using omnichannel marketing, you can create unique customer experiences and drive traffic across your different platforms.
13. Get organic traffic with SEO
We’ve briefly mentioned what SEO is. Simply, it’s getting Google’s eyes on your website.
SEO is a consistent effort. It’s not a one-time thing. Unlike ads, SEO brings in organic (unpaid) traffic to your website. However, it’s also a long-term strategy, because it takes time to rank on Google and generate results, as opposed to ads.
14. Benefit from upselling and cross-selling
One of the top methods e-commerce businesses increase their online sales is through upselling and cross-selling.
Cross-selling involves suggesting products that complement a customer’s purchase. For example, if a customer adds a pair of shoes to their cart, cross-selling would mean suggesting a pair of socks to go with that.
Meanwhile, upselling involves offering upgrades to products a customer has selected. For example, if you buy a burger, the salesperson offers you cheese, pickles, or even an extra burger patty.
You can do this either through a website integration, or via your website builder, or ask your developer to add it.
15. Showcase positive reviews
Last but certainly not least, a major benefit of having a website is that you can showcase positive customer reviews and ratings.
By getting customers to rate products and share reviews, you’d be creating social proof, which can increase your sales.
If you’re getting products from multiple vendors, ratings and reviews will indicate if these vendors’ products are of high quality or not. If some products continuously get negative reviews, then perhaps it’s time to find a different vendor.
Wrapping it up
Creating a website for your business, whether it’s e-commerce or otherwise, comes with a ton of benefits. From building awareness to brand authority to being able to track results.
There’s so much you can do with a Facebook group or an Instagram account. But tracking results isn’t easy.
If you’d like to start creating your website, then check out HBM’s no-code website builder. It’s easy, affordable, and lets you get all the above perks with customer support.
Sign up today and make it easier for customers to view and buy your products.
Got questions? Leave them in the comments below.