Setting up an online store is not always easy. To help you understand the advantages and disadvantages of eCommerce, here are some benefits and struggles that small business owners face when adding eCommerce to their brick-and-mortar stores.
What Is eCommerce?
To get started, let’s define eCommerce. At its core, it is buying and selling products or services online. Some well-known retailers in this field are Amazon and eBay.
As technology has grown and become more accessible, the eCommerce market in America has also seen a rapid increase.
This growth can be attributed to an increased literacy with tech devices like smartphones or tablets and society’s new demand for convenience when completing tasks.
For brick-and-mortar merchants, the online space seems like a good option. However, it is essential to research the advantages and disadvantages of eCommerce before making a definitive decision.
Advantages of eCommerce
Here are some things to consider when deciding whether or not to start an eCommerce business.
1. You’ll reach more customers.
The great thing about eCommerce is that it allows for an unlimited customer base. Start your own online retail business. There will be no limit to the number of people who can become customers because anyone in the world with access to a computer and internet connection could potentially buy from you.
A survey of store owners found that many people noticed a significant increase in customers after going digital, and 64% had seen a rise in revenue.
2. You’re always open
A 24-hour online store can be a lifesaver for small business owners. A potential customer might want to buy something in the middle of the night, but you don’t have to worry about staff or resources that physical stores usually require.
3. The cost is lower for both sides.
One of the reasons eCommerce stores is more successful than brick-and-mortar is that they can run without paying their staff. Shoppers don’t have to pay for travel costs to purchase either.
When a person is too cold to drive or can’t afford the gas, they may not visit your business. However, an online store will always be accessible and convenient.
Disadvantages of eCommerce
The idea of adding an eCommerce website to your already successful retail establishment sounds like a great plan, but some disadvantages need to be considered.
1. Customers worry about security and privacy.
In an increasingly digitized world, it’s no surprise that many consumers are wary of giving out personal information to online stores. In the past few years, fraud cases have increased as more and more people use their credit cards for purchases on the internet. Online retailers need a secure system with encrypted payment software to keep up.
2. Lack of in-store engagement with customers
A brick-and-mortar store is the best way to experience a product for many industries. Some businesses are trying to preserve in-store customer engagement even as technology changes retail space.
One disadvantage of eCommerce that stands out above all others is the inability of customers or sales assistants to see each other in person.
Not only is online shopping limited in the amount of information available, but when consumers go to physical stores, they need more than just an item’s picture, and size fit info. They also want tactile input like how it feels or what texture comes into play with certain clothing items. This all makes a big difference for consumer purchases.
3. The added cost of operating an online store
Web hosting for an online store is not as expensive as keeping a physical storefront open, but it does cost money to set up and maintain. This means that the small business owner has two options: either take on more work themselves or hire someone who knows how to set up, operate and manage an eCommerce site. You might also need to hire staff knowledgeable in digital marketing and technology.
Final Thoughts on the Advantages and Disadvantages of eCommerce
Knowing the advantages and disadvantages of eCommerce can help business owners decide whether it is feasible to take their store or brick-and-mortar shop online. The world of eCommerce looks promising, and many entrepreneurs have succeeded in this type of business environment. But don’t just jump on the bandwagon. You need to have the knowledge, vision, and creative marketing techniques for your online business to succeed.