If you want to start an e-commerce store but are not sure if it’s the right fit, the following article is for you. Let's start with the basics, 'What is e-commerce?' - To put into perspective, e-commerce is to commerce what email has been to mail. While commerce refers to carrying out transactions and buying goods physically, e-commerce means selling and buying online. An online store’s capabilities have surpassed those available in traditional brick-and-mortar retail. Over the last years, e-commerce business in India and worldwide has enjoyed steady and substantial growth. This tendency is not going to change – ecommerce is expected to keep growing, reaching $4.2 trillion in global sales by the end of 2020 according to Statista.
Until the last decade people used to travel great distances to meet needs. You would go to the local grocery store(and still do) for your daily needs, malls and branded stores for apparel needs, etc. Travelling to get goods was gradually eliminated by the surge of e-commerce. Here we will explore benefits as well as disadvantages of an e-commerce store.
You can never doubt the ability to sell goods and services online which in the past have made business more profitable. Among all the advantages of e-commerce, low financial cost has to be the most prominent. There are others too like re-targeting customers, selling internationally, minimal recurring costs, etc. which we discuss here:
1. Speeds up the buying process and saves time for consumers -
Online shopping speeds up receiving a desired product and saves customers’ time and efforts. Imagine you need a particular product. If you choose to purchase it online, using only a laptop and a credit card, you spend no time reaching the brick-and-mortar store. Moreover, instead of walking from store to store looking for an item, you can immediately check whether it’s available at the store or not.
2. Setting up and personalizing the store is cheap -
Physical retail stores have to spend lakhs to rent their store location, set up the decors and ensure that it appeals to their potential customers. With e-commerce one saves upfront costs like store design, sales equipment, store signs, etc. but also which can otherwise be used for promotional purposes.
3. Minimal recurring costs -
Recurring costs in regular stores can be listed as: Operational and rental charges, employee salaries for running the store, maintenance, and the list goes on. These costs, when compared with what you pay to run an e-commerce store, reveal that you save a ton without compromising much with your customer’s experience. These low store operational costs also ensure that you don’t suffer huge losses during bad business days.
4. Easier re-targeting of customers -
There are multiple ways to retarget your customers online like coupons, mails, Google and Facebook ads. Re-targeting is an ad promotional process that shows your merchandise ads on websites and platforms that clients viewed at your online store before. Thus, these ads prompt customers about your merchandise that they might still need, urging them to return back to your store and purchase. One might even say that easy re-targeting is among the best e-commerce edges.
5. Easy to promote impulse shopping -
While your potential customer is looking for their favorite products through your website, you have ample opportunities to help them choose the best one for them through good product images and attractive descriptions. If executed carefully, these go a long way in motivating customers to buy impulsively. Displaying limited time coupon codes or flashing price drop alerts are other ideas that work.
6. Establish store’s trust through visible reviews -
'Trust' often is the deciding factor in whether a website visitor feels comfortable enough to buy. Product reviews act as a definitive tool to convince your customers of the credibility of your platform and products. Abicart has integrated major review websites whose services you can include in your online store.
7. Faster and cheap selling -
Ecommerce enables you to work with the additional advanced technologies like digital marketing. This includes: content selling, SEO, affiliate selling, email marketing, pay-per-click, affiliate marketing and social media selling. Each one of these activities are less costly than traditional sales methods and help in getting more revenue. Moreover, they directly interact with potential customers who use social networks often thus promoting word of mouth.
8. Vital aspects that make sales easier -
An efficient customer support is the foundation of any e-commerce store that relies on the human touch to make sale. Vital aspects like this one help in customer retention and spreading word of mouth so are always strongly recommended. More aspects can include the website's loading time, product packaging, regular updating new products, etc.
9. International merchandising -
E-commerce not only promotes you to sell customers across your country but also around the world. Selling your product internationally not only increases your credibility but opens a huge market for you which was otherwise untapped. You can create a sale anyplace and anytime.
10. Minimized possibility of human error -
Less man-force accounts for lower human error. From managing the store to billing the customers, possibility of errors are lowered considerably.
11. Environmentally friendly -
Fewer papers and fewer traffic amounts to a healthy dose of air. Keep in mind after I declared earlier that the diversion was the foremost vital advantage of e-commerce to society? A blatant lie. drop-off the world warming possesses to be the quantity one profit. Less traffic
12. Store is always online -
Our personal favourite - your store is available to shop from 24*7! Studies suggest that a huge chunk of online shopping is done after dinner time around midnight. It makes sense because usually the day keeps everyone busy with their full-time jobs, night prompts them to reward themselves with personal shopping. Not having to go to a store physically and ordering online in a matter of minutes is also much more convenient.
1. Lack of personal experience-
Many shoppers value the personal touch they get when visiting a store and interacting with the sales associates. This bit has time and again proved to be a successful business strategy and is especially vital for businesses that offer high-end products because customers then prefer to test and try such things before paying. This is of-course not available in an online store unless you offer trying the product before delivery which can be a hassle.
2. Website can be offline for maintenance purposes -
Website crash/ maintenance is considered one of the worst disadvantages of ecommerce. That’s why it’s vital to make sure your store is hosted on a reliable platform. Eg: If you’re paying a minimum hosting fee and obtain a surge in traffic from an active online ad or an influencer shout-out, your website might crash. Fortuitously, Abicart offers free hosting in our monthly fee permitting you to own one of the simplest and most efficient servers on the market.
3. Time between shopping and delivery -
The farther your customer is from your warehouse, the longer it takes for it to deliver. Potential customers in a hurry might thus avoid ordering online and head to a retail store instead.
4. Restricted to web friendly space -
This is pretty obvious, however remember that your clients do want web access before they will purchase from you! Since several eCommerce platforms have options Associate in Nursing functionalities that need high-speed web access for an optimum customer expertise, there is a likelihood you are excluding guests United Nations agency have slow connections.
5. Client loyalty becomes a much bigger issue -
It's not often that you interact with your customers directly while managing an e-commerce website. Unlike a physical store you can't make a personal relationship with them.
6. Unsure regarding quality -
Even though e-commerce offers loads of additional information, a couple of products or services than ancient retail, it doesn't permit you to expertise any of it before shopping for it.
7. Complexity In Taxation, laws, and Compliance -
If a web business sells to customers in numerous territories, they're going to adhere to laws not solely in their own states/countries however conjointly in their customers' place of residence. this might produce loads of complexities in accounting, compliance, and taxation.
8. Extremely competitive
What a comfortable time to be alive. Commodities arrive at our doorsteps and groceries carry themselves. Before long we'll have drones and delivery bots able to fly in with our order. On whichever finish of the spectrum you would possibly end up, be it as a shopper, business, or a supplier of services, this age of pop digital trends and technological advances is equally exciting!
Buy and sell, trade and barter; there are not any limits to what you'll be able to do once your audience takes up an entire planet. E-commerce is here for the longer period and therefore will be subject to technological advances. Soon traditional retail won't exist. As you have seen in our list of benefits and downsides of e-commerce, we believe you'll be able to decide whether or not to start out a web business or not.