Even if you are a beginner or a very experienced retail store owner, you are ought to have your own love-hate connection with eCommerce.
Online retail is like a whole new channel for physical store owners. A whole new market, in fact.
Today, we are going to talk about the pros and cons to sell online and how you can turn online sales into a profitable ecommerce business as it is – or simply create a new stream of revenue for your local business.
Fact is, the entry barrier for ecommerce is very low. Unlike the high costs to start a physical shop, starting an ecommerce business these days can cost you as low as 100$ per month. Not joking!
Of course, this will depend on your level of techniqual and marketing knowledge, but the truth is that even learning how to do ecommerce and to sell online – is easy.
While having an ecommerce setup and being able to start selling products online in a short period of time, ecommerce and online retail has it downsides as well.
Well, everything has its advantages and disadvantages, huh?
Let’s break down the topic into details and help you see the full picture.
The Pros to Sell Online via eCommerce Platform
- Unlimited reach of new customers: While local retail store will lock your traffic reach and make it dependent of the foot traffic in the area where you operate it, online stores can expand internationally and connect customers from multiple continents trough just one platform and fulfil their deliver via different shipping channels. Of course, each product is different and for some products people tend to try and test it in person, but overall, shopping can be done online.
- Easy Upsells: Given the level of technology these days, online retailers have the great advantages to sell online and upsell customers on the spot, by using simple algorithms that understand the customer behavior. Upsell can be anything from similar products, different color variations, bundle deals or ‘frequently purchased together’ option.
- Collect Data from the Customers: Another great benefit to sell online is the option to have full data collection and the ability to analyze all that data in order to fully understand the customer behavior. One of the most popular tools for this job is the Google Analytics, however, there are much more sophisticated tools for analyzing different metrics that will help you learn the reasons why a customer will buy a certain product from your online store, or why a certain percentages of potential customers decided to abandon the cart or checkout before completing the payment. Collecting and analyzing data can help you boost your revenue, if you read it right.
- Unlimited Product Listings: The good side of selling online is the unlimited product listings. You are not locked down to only use the store size like a physical shop, instead you list as many and as different products on your ecommerce shop and start selling them online. Basically, you don’t need a storage to store all these products, instead you can start working with a fulfillment company or just use dropshipping company to ship the products from production to the end customer directly.
These are the key benefits from selling products online. Ready for the cons?
The Cons to Sell Online with an Ecommerce Platform
The following are the most common disadvantages to sell online via ecommerce, but read on, we`ll provide you with solutions to avoid them as well.
- Incompatible software integrations: There are so many ecommerce platforms that you can choose, yet each one has it’s own pros and cons for online sales. The truth is, with so many options online, you really can’t expect everything to be compactible and to run smoothly – especially when ecommerce solutions are upgraded and made custom, sometimes you may have issues to connect them to a POS system or an ERP system that will comply perfectly.
- Inventory Management: Well, while having no inventory or storage comes as a benefit, not having one will make you dependent on your supplier or dropshippers – and not having that one to physically check, you can’t manage it properly. This means the costs for safe stock and overstock may hit you to the pocket at some point.
- Unsynchronized customer experience: This disadvantages for selling online is only present for retailers that have both, local retail store and online shop. The customers expect to have a consistent experience with your brand and store, regardless if it’s local or online. Multi-channel sales is a thing and all the big retail brands have an optimized experience for the customers. However, not being able to optimize it for your own business, it may result in losing customers at some point – thus, being a disadvantage.
- Poor Mobile Experience: It’s a common issue for most of the ecommerce platforms that are currently running on the market that mobile user interface is not as good as the interface for desktop-based customers. Even though, around 60% of the worldwide shoppers and ecommerce purchases are done via a smartphone, and that means that customers are mostly moving to mobile shopping. The thing is, almost all standard themes and layouts are not fully optimized for a good checkout flow, and this can be fixed by hiring a designer to create a custom design for mobile users that will help you boost the sales.
Even though we listed a lot of pros and cons to sell online, we definitely encourage retailers and online entrepreneurs to start and dive in the world of ecommerce. There are definitely a lot of points that you should consider, but clearly, the benefits out weight the downsides of online retail.
Please let us know what else you think can be an advantage or disadvantage to online sales via ecommerce platforms in the section below, and we`ll be happy to follow up on the discussion.
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