The e-commerce industry has been experiencing rapid growth over the past 10 years, and sales of $2 trillion a year are in sight. Opening an online store is absolutely essential for success in the 21st century, even if you still keep your traditional storefront. There are numerous reasons to get an online shop today for small, medium, and large sized businesses. The potential for company growth is tremendous. Have a look at why this is so.
1. Low Start-Up Costs
Running a physical store requires much more of an investment, as developers, designers, staff, and rent will dig into your business costs. With an online store, this investment is greatly lessened as starting one requires a lot less personnel; additionally, building a virtual store is quite cheap as software and other needed technology is readily available and affordable.
2. Better Communication with Your Customers
Online tools enable you to have exceptional communication with your customers and clients. You can make use of a 24-hour support staff to answer questions and concerns. A FAQ (frequently asked questions) page can help shoppers find answers to common inquiries. You can even include instructions for navigating the site. Have a suggestion box to let customers know you value their opinion. How-to videos can teach shoppers how to use products. And descriptions of what you sell can give you buyers a better idea of what they need. The amount of information and customer support you can provide is truly endless.
3. A Greater Variety of Marketing
Social media is a great and free advertising tool to expand your business via word of mouth. You can also build your online image and reputation with fan pages, a catchy virtual storefront, and membership opportunities. The potential to get the word out about your store in forums, online magazines, and through advertising on other sites abounds.
4. Location Independent Business
Being able to do business anywhere means unlimited profits as nearly everyone in the world can shop at your store. While profit is limited in a physical store, you can go global while online. Who knows? When you are sleeping, you could be making money from shoppers who are making purchases across the world. The ability to attract new customers in new markets makes the potential of doing business online limitless.
5. It’s Easy to Expand
You don’t have to set up another store. All you need to do is simply find a place for inventory. An online business can expand exponentially in a matter of years without requiring the amount of cash influx a traditional store would require. In general, you just don’t need as much personnel, real estate, and management to run an online shop.
6. E-Commerce Platforms Make It Easy
If you don’t want to set up your own website or don’t know how, starting a store on a major e-commerce website like Ebay or Shopify is very simple as you are shown step by step how to build a store. This is especially helpful if you are not that internet savvy. Within hours, your store could be up and running. All most sites require is a small fee or commission per each sale.
7. Many People Go Online for Product Reviews
85% of shoppers first look at product reviews before making a purchase, whether that be online or at a physical store. Knowing that, searches of products you sell could lead Google or Bing searchers to your store. If you have a better price or catchy virtual display, you could have a new customer just like that. After all, why would someone want to drive to go get something when they could sit at the computer and order it from your store?
Online shopping is the wave of the future. As more and more business make a push to do business online, the market is becoming competitive. However, with that competition comes opportunity, and that can be seen in the low costs, ease of running an online operation, and the potential to connect to new markets.