Opening an online store is easier than ever. There are dozens of great e-commerce platforms that allow merchants with no coding experience to build up and run complex online store systems and reach customers from all around the world.
Since the use of mobile internet also saw a huge increase in recent years, many business owners decide to optimize their online stores for mobile users. This is another process that’s simplified by latest tech and platforms like MobiCommerce, which enable e-commerce beginners to easily target consumers who use mobile internet.
In this article we will analyze benefits that e-commerce brings to small local businesses and give you 6 reasons why you should add an online store to your business strategy
1. E-commerce overcomes geographic limitations
If you want local store to become global, you should upload its offer to a web server. Traditionally local businesses are targeting customers who live or work nearby, while online stores give them the chance to overcome geographic limitations and present their offer to people all around the world. Of course even online stores have their limitations when it comes to customer reach, and these are mostly determined by country customs and shipping rates. Even with these limitations ecommerce drastically increases business’ customer pool.
2. Online stores cut your HR spending
Online retail business could be easily run by one person. Physical stores on the other hand require at least one person per shift, who can’t leave the store during several hours. Bigger stores also require additional workforce that will cover security, bookkeeping, storing and merchandising tasks. Online stores that are run by production companies, don’t even need to hire additional staff.
3. Online stores can use less expensive ways of promotion
Internet retail entrepreneurs are usually much more open to new technologies, which means they use all benefits digital marketing brings. Online merchants usually share their offers directly on social networks and attract more customers with less expensive marketing strategies which include the use of search engine optimization, Google AdWords, local business mobile apps, Facebook Ads etc.
4. Online store requires less space and guarantees a smaller rent
E-commerce works on completely different premise and the whole project can be easily run from home or a garage. One of the reasons for this, is the fact that these stores use website’s product pages as their exhibition area. They also don’t need bigger storage space, because customers who shop in online stores are accustomed to shorter or longer waiting periods. This means that store owner can use this period to obtain ordered item or even to produce it (if the store is connected to production plant). Physical stores on the other hand need to have all of their goods ready and packed, because customers expect to walk out from the store with a product they just purchased.
5. They are open 24/7
Internet works 24/7, and online stores are no different. The moment after your neighbor goes to sleep, some college kid is just making a break from studying, by browsing stuff he/she would like to buy. This brings benefits to both merchants and customers. Merchants will receive more orders, and customer won’t need to rush after work or school and think whether their favorite shop is going to close.
6. Online stores save customer’s time and money
Most online stores offer free shipping, at least in local area, which drastically decreases customer spending. Location based stores require customers to spend time, money and gas in order to buy their favorite item, while online stores bring goods directly at their door. That’s probably one of the reasons why ecommerce is one of the fastest growing internet businesses in recent years.
In the end we should also mention a few disadvantages online stores come with. First and the most important lack of online shopping concept is the fact that customer can’t see the item before it arrives to their address. Merchants solved this puzzle by uploading sharp, high-resolution imagery and providing extensive information about the product on their product pages. Some of them went few steps further introducing 360 degrees product view, adding links to manufacturer’s website or sending product samples to potential customers. This and many other similar practices will make your online store more competitive and popular among consumers.