When it comes to Internet retail, the UK leads the pack: 13.5 per cent of all retail sales are completed online. That is almost two per cent higher than the US. As e-commerce popularity rises, so too does smartphone use, making right now one of the best times to start or redouble your efforts on an e-commerce site.

There is no question that we are making a shift toward a more Internet based society. Physical retail locations will always exist and are a backbone of our cities and society, but e-commerce is making headlines of its own with solid growth and greater trustworthiness. Your business needs an e-commerce side and the following projections prove just how strong e-commerce is becoming.

E-Commerce is Booming
According to research by eMarketer, overall global e-commerce sales will increase by an average of 12.5 per cent per year through 2018, the last year of the forecast, nearly doubling the total sales from 2013 to 2018. As more shoppers become comfortable with spending money online, they are also eagerly looking for places to spend their money.

A Surge in Smartphone Use
To go with the steady growth of e-commerce in the UK, smartphone use is also increasing rapidly. In 2011, 21.6 million users had smartphones. This number is projected to more than double by the year 2017, with 43.4 million people in the UK relying on the mobility and usefulness of smartphones.

A Perfect Combination for Success
Whether you own a brick and mortar store or are considering launching an exclusively Internet based business, the numbers are on your side for a venture into e-commerce. There are numerous high quality e-commerce options, allowing you to pick and choose a site option that fits your product needs and customer base. If you have been planning to start your Internet business, now is certainly the time.

Choosing a Platform
There are many choices in e-commerce platforms and the decision can be daunting. Begin by knowing your business. Do you plan to sell digital products or tangible products? How many will you have? Will you design your own or do you need templates? To choose which one works for you, make a list of important features, which may also include:

Maximum products allowed
•Payment options
•Shipping options
•Scalable traffic plans to grow with your business
•Customisation options – do you know how to code your own?
•Pricing that fits your budget and payment frequency needs
•The ability to sell on mobile to capture the smartphone crowd

Be sure to try out demos of the e-commerce platform you are considering. Most sites will allow you to get to know the software before you commit. In addition to all of the above factors, consider the many FREE e-commerce site options; some are more feature filled and productive than their costly counterparts.

As Internet and smartphone use continues to rise with no end in sight, the time to launch your e-commerce business is now. Technology is advancing and making selling online easier than ever. You no longer need to know how to program your own site or manage the security aspects alone – quality e-commerce platforms do this for you. Make your New Year’s resolution this year to be a successful Internet business owner. There has never been a better time.