There are lots of things to consider before starting your own business and one of the first is undoubtedly location. But an ever-increasing number of consumers and budding entrepreneurs alike are turning to e-commerce over physical localities for a number of reasons.
1. No geographical constraints
A lot of time and energy needs to be invested when finding the ideal location for a business, not to mention money, as leasing a business is not cheap. Although a well-established, specialist retailer may have people willing to travel miles to buy their products, generally a new business will not. In this world of fast-paced consumerism, we want to click and buy without any additional hassle. This is one thing that makes E-commerce great – it’s convenient for customers, plus you have the opportunity to reach a lot more people than a physical store ever could.
2. It’s cost-effective
Setting up a new business in a physical location is expensive. We’ve already established that rent is not cheap anywhere, but in a desired location, it’s often astronomical. The fact that you don’t need to be fully stocked before opening your doors for business, as you would with a physical store, also means that initial costs and outgoings can be much lower with an e-commerce business. There are plenty of resources online to help get your shop front set up, with very few initial costs to take into account.
Another way that e-commerce wins over a physical store is staffing levels. Most online businesses are able to process fully automated transactions; reducing the need to hire additional personnel. A big plus with e-commerce is that you can also take things slowly which gives you the chance to test the water, research what people are buying elsewhere and generally get a feel for what you need to do to ensure success.
3. Consumer friendly
It is often much easier to offer information and products to potential customers with e-commerce than through physical businesses. One reason for this is choice. An online business can list innumerable products, whereas a physical location is limited to what there is space to store and display.
Online transactions are quick and easy, the choice is often unlimited and the information about the products is detailed and readily available. It is also easy to provide high-quality customer service to your online clients, too, with many online businesses offering multi-channel support systems and well planned FAQ pages.
4. Freedom to move with the times
Many people spend large amounts of time online, so to be successful your business needs to be a part of the ever-growing phenomenon that is the internet. Good strategic planning can help ensure that search engines direct traffic to your site, often including people that would have otherwise been unable to locate you (or those that were completely unaware of your existence).
Having an online business also means that you can maximise the effects of social media, with many sites these days offering free business pages. Advertising your e-commerce business is simple online and it is also cost-effective: there are tons of ways you can advertise your products without breaking the bank, such as working with relevant websites to cross promote each other’s products, and using display or pay-per-click ads (which means that you don’t pay anything unless the ads are clicked).
The benefits of owning an e-commerce business are overwhelming and often speak for themselves. Although we are in the midst of a technological revolution, with the way we do things rapidly changing, e-commerce is still a growing sector that has nowhere near reached its full potential. The internet levels the playing field, meaning that any business, regardless of size, can successfully compete against the big guys, especially in respect of customer service (with many people preferring the personal feel of a smaller company).
In the light of the above, it makes perfect and logical sense to jump on the e-commerce bandwagon and enjoy the ride!
About the Author: This article is prepared by Ravinder Sahu