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The Age of E-commerce – Going Online

E-commerce has become essential to the success of many businesses.

It’s no secret that e-commerce is growing rapidly. Some forecast online sales will reach nearly one-quarter of all retail sales in the U.S. by 2025, up from just 11% in 2019, the year before the pandemic.1 And businesses are adapting quickly to this trend. In a Harris Poll conducted this past summer, nearly three-quarters of small and medium-sized businesses were found to engage in e-commerce, with one-third having added online transactions in just the last year.2

However, going online, particularly for traditional “brick & mortar” businesses, can be challenging. It requires embracing a new “digital” view of marketing and client service and brings to center stage the need to build and manage an effective online presence. Luckily, resources to support e-commerce initiatives are becoming widely available, particularly for smaller businesses, while innovative technologies are helping to simplify and streamline online transactions.

A few key things to consider as you build your online presence:

  • Make your website compelling: Websites should be engaging, user-friendly, and well-suited to drive conversions. Think about who your users are when choosing imagery so that it is relatable. And make sure your call to action is easy to find and use.
  • Create a social media strategy: A clear and actionable social strategy will help your firm manage the nuances of the evolving virtual world. To begin, select the appropriate social channel for your target market. If you’re selling to business owners or professionals, you may want to focus on LinkedIn, while Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are a great way to reach end clients. Make sure your social content looks professional and represents the image you’d like to convey. Social media provides an opportunity for you to demonstrate thought leadership, expand interest in the products you sell, and link back to your website with a call to action.
  • Communicate regularly and analyze your results. Track and review the engagement and reach your posts are getting, and refine your social strategy based on your results. Are links to videos or other visual content pulling people in? Are your messages compelling viewers to click the link to your thought leadership? Oftentimes, the best way forward is to learn from past results.
  • Take advantage of awareness boosters: Paid advertising and a strong SEO/SEM strategy can raise awareness exponentially and drive interest and engagement. Just be careful to employ selection criteria that clearly identify who you want to reach.

Your Washington Trust Relationship Manager is available to help you meet the challenges of the digital marketplace as you plan your e-commerce strategy.

1 US Ecommerce Forecast 2021, Insider Intelligence, July 8, 2021
2 Small and Medium Business Trends Report, Fifth Edition,, Inc. ©2021

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