Like it or not, E-Commerce will impact your sales next year

This morning Business Insider published an article forecasting the impact of e-commerce on sales across a variety of consumer sectors.  Here’s the link:

http://www.businessinsider.com/the-future-of-retail-2014-slide-deck-sai-2014-3

As much as I’ve been talking recently about direct-to-consumer sales, Amazon’s push in to the HVAC industry, Nest and its broadening capabilities this article only further solidifies the point: In 2015 50% of home appliances will be purchased using an e-commerce platform.  That’s a little more than a little.

Of course we can splice the hairs as to what “appliance” means: blender, dishwasher, kitchen range, and on.  But that’s not really the point.  The definition of an “appliance” is broadening while e-commerce capabilities improve.  This, while an increasing number of homeowners find it simpler and more convenient to point and click their way to whatever that new appliance happens to be.  One way or another a new furnace will find its way in to the mix.  Just a matter of time.

The trend is looking more like a hockey stock than a horizon.

Even Costsco, perhaps especially Costco, is leveraging the ease and reach of e-commerce to break in to new markets.  Also published this week in Forbes is an article explaining how Costco will enter in to the Chinese market using an on-line store hosted by Alibaba.  Here’s the link:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/ywang/2014/10/14/costco-makes-china-debut-through-alibaba/

I don’t know much about doing business in China but I can’t but help think that Costco can afford a brick-and-mortar warehouse in Beijing.

All of this is great news for small business.  As the Etsy’s of the world have demonstrated a successful e-commerce initiative is a legitimate way to build a brand, spread a viral message, and make it that much easier for prospective customers to look at products, learn about the provider, get a sense of the brand, and point-and-click their way to a purchase.  And that means that it’s time to start putting together an e-commerce strategy for 2015.  What can be sold via a website?  Thermostats.  Maintenance agreements.  Water tanks.  Filters.  Duct cleaning.  To name a few.  It means that a website will evolve toward a type of digital storyteller.  It means that the quality of the content needs to be interesting, provocative, fun, engaging (for the love of Pete let’s be done with the ’10 ways to save on your power bill’).  It means that the HVAC industry needs to re-calibrate its sense of just how important a kick ass and monetized website really is for the future of growth.  Fish where the fish are.  Pretty simple.

 

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