E-Commerce : Pros & Cons
If you have been contemplating starting an e-commerce platform for your business, go ahead, just do it! It will probably be the best decision you ever made.
These statistics should spur you on. Did you know that retail e-commerce sales in 2022 will exceed $5 trillion worldwide? Or that the anticipated growth rate in this segment is on a 5% Year on Year basis and is expected to exceed 27.3 trillion in 2022?
Primarily, as with any new business venture, you must know the Pros and Cons before taking that first step.
Here we take a closer look at both sides of the same coin to understand the 5 essentials from their right perspective.
Low Initial Investment
The primary advantage of an e-commerce business is the comparatively low investment needed to start with. We all know the high cost of acquiring property, especially in a large city and in a prime location. In the case of a showroom, you will need fairly large premises, preferably with a huge frontage for display purposes. This is going to be an expensive proposition, additionally, it will entail regular expensive maintenance costs and at least a reasonable amount based on employees' salaries, Investing in merchandise, display costs, sales equipment costs and a host of other overheads also have to be accounted for.
On the other hand, with e-commerce, the only cost you will incur is having a well-designed website and a couple of employees [depending on the size and nature of your business or service], alternately, you can also manage it entirely by yourself. Yes, you will need a good graphic branding agency to handle all your online matters and associating with the best in this domain would cost far less than your annual maintenance costs alone.
The other advantage is that your e-business is open 24/7, 365 days a year! No time restrictions will bind you as you may have with physical establishments.
Importantly, your business is active at odd hours too. There is a large customer base that is busy throughout the day and finds shopping time only after regular working hours. Your well-optimized online business can execute sales independently even while you are sleeping or at a party.
This benefit is priceless!
An e-commerce business operates internationally. Imagine the wider audience you can attract without any restrictions. When dealing with products, you can choose to link your business with a pick-up and drop service like Blue Dart, AllExpress etc. that gets activated as soon as your site registers a sale. All the relevant details [name, address phone nos] are simultaneously shared making the whole process operate seamlessly and instantaneously.
If you have an online service to offer, you can provide all that is needed with just the click of a button to a customer who may be located hundreds of miles away. A dependable internet connection does the needful with efficient software in place.
Your entire range of products is optimally displayed on your website. Prospective buyers get a deep insight into what suits them best. Additionally, by employing Augmented Technology, customers can get a first-hand experience with your products. Correspondingly, your service gets fully demonstrated [functionality, operations etc]. Advanced technologies available today work hand in glove with online businesses.
Creating an Effective Database
One of the most important add-on benefits will come with acquiring a useful database of customers or potential clients that you have engaged with earlier and can target them again with timely reminders, e-mail brochures, useful links to newer product offerings etc. Make no mistake, this can be a rewarding experience. Many large companies pay good money to acquire a quality database.
It is a given that with most innovative strategies, there are a few downsides that must be understood and endured.
The 5 Main Disadvantages of running an E-Commerce Business can include:
This can at times be a minor issue with a breakdown in internet connectivity and may cause a temporary shut down. However, there is a worst-case scenario when your site crashes and can be agonizing. The main culprit could lie with your website hosting platform. There are cheap hosting companies that are often overloaded and will either operate slowly or simply crash. Every e-commerce business needs reliable hosting and timely maintenance, This critical parameter must suitably be met by engaging with the best possible providers. Cheap alternatives may look attractive initially but can prove to be expensive in the long run.
Lack of Interaction
Your e-business can never provide the same interaction with the customers as you can in a store, where you can persuade a customer or offer a discount or a wider range of similar products. In e-commerce, every interaction is done remotely and cannot be as spontaneous.
These days, with advanced technological innovations, customers can be assisted with Augmented Reality which comes very close to shopping in a store.
Prospective customers have a plethora of online resources to choose from. Your website must be attractive and display good testimonials apart from other incentives to get a customer hooked. To overcome this obstacle, e-commerce businesses must be equipped with efficient marketing strategies. You may need the expert services of an established professional consultancy to cater to all your needs. These can include optimum Social Media campaigns along with SEO content that ensure you are among the first sites viewed.
This is probably the biggest drawback. The time taken to pack/ship a product from its source to the customer's doorstep can take a few days. Many customers may have urgent requirements that cannot be fulfilled by an e-commerce business.
Customers can have queries about a certain product or service and may need quick answers. This is one area where an e-commerce business cannot match an in-store experience. The solution lies in having your own or hiring a 24//7 customer service provider that can offer solutions quick and fast.
Now, that you have all the Pros and Cons of e-Commerce business, you can make your assessment suitably. In our opinion, the Pros outweigh the Cons by a distance! And as far as the issues that come with this nature and style of business, we feel, most of them can be addressed optimally with appropriate solutions to ensure you have a high-performance e-commerce business in place.
Of course, you will need a highly qualified professional as a constant companion to take you to your desired targets and more.
Feel free to make a free appointment with the best in this business.