When Willie Sutton was asked why he robbed banks, he said, “Because that’s where the money is.”

Actually, it turns out that’s a myth. But perhaps the reason the misquote has persisted is that it is so brilliantly simple.

While his methods were not legal, you could hardly argue that they were ineffective. Sutton is credited with stealing about $2 million over his career, which would equal about $20 million today.

If you are a small business owner, how can you use Willie Sutton’s advice to tap into some new revenues of your own?

The answer is to go where the money is. And the money is online.

According to the below infographic, Forrester reports that e-commerce in 2013 will have grown to $262 billion, up from $231 billion in 2012. The firm also predicts that online retail sales will grow at a compounded annual rate of 10% for the next five years. (See infographic)

Further, by 2017, 90% of consumers will regularly shop online. Ninety percent! And while most small businesses these days already have websites, few of them allow their customers to buy what they’re selling on them. Luckily for small businesses, tapping into the lucrative stream of online transactions is much easier than cracking a bank’s safe.

A website should be a business owner’s virtual store. Allowing customers to easily book or buy on the website is essential. If you do not have the ecommerce tools in place, then it’s time to enable online transactions.

Now that you’re ready to unleash your inner Willie Sutton, make sure you do it according to ecommerce best practices. Here are some key guidelines to consider:

– Make product information accessible.

– Provide a clear call to action.

– Earn the trust of your customers.

– Eliminate unnecessary steps between the customer’s desire to buy and the purchase.

– Maintain your branding.

Implementing an ecommerce solution that follows these guidelines will position your business where the money is and where it will continue to go: Online. Your customers will thank you for it, and we’ll bet they even tell a friend or two.

The Growth of Ecommerce


About The Author

Aksh comes from a family of entrepreneurs. He started his first company at the age of 19. Aksh is passionate about technology and role it can play in changing people's lives. Aksh was featured by PBS as one of the young entrepreneurs in 2011. Aksh has a Masters in Economics from DePaul University.