Why can't businesses be successful without online stores?
Nowadays there's hardly anyone who doesn't know what an online store is. Businesses have been working with such stores for years, but now it's easier than ever to acquire one, maintain it and earn money from it.
According to the National Statistical Institute (NSI) clothes and sporting goods were the most sold type of products at online stores in 2013 – they were bought by 68% of all the products. Next were travels and hotel bookings with 32.9%. Household goods (furniture, toys) were bought by 31 % of the online buyers. (You can learn more about the online purchases in 2013 from here). The distribution by gender of people who shop online is even – the number of men and women who made purchases online during the year is equal.
Most importantly, the percentage of people who shop online is increasing each year.
Why can't a business succeed today without an online store? What are the advantages of the electronic stores? Do they have disadvantages and could these disadvantages be overcome? You will find all the answers here.
In brief, nowadays a business can't be without an online store if it wants to be competitive, to grow and to increase its profits.
Here is a list of all the advantages of online stores
1. 24/7 Inarguably, this is their biggest advantage – they are available to the customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can make sales while sleeping!
2. More time for browsing. The customers of e-stores aren’t pressed for time and made uncomfortable by the insistent looks they get from the salesmen at the offline stores. They are able to browse the catalogue at their leisure, to read the detailed descriptions of the products (which will also help in the optimization of the online store), to compare, the read the opinions and the ratings of other users. Customers today love making an informed choice!
3. Availability everywhere. The online stores customers are able to buy from any place on Earth where there’s Internet. But this isn’t the only convenience. The “Buy” button can be clicked on from the sofa in the living room, the office chair, the favourite bar.
4. Online stores remove the necessity for some expenses – for a brick and mortar store, store equipment (shelves, window displays, machinery), large staff. In some cases even maintaining an inventory is not necessary.
5. Business management. E-stores "provide" easier accounting and monitoring of the whole commercial process. Orders can be tracked easily – number of orders made during a certain period, regular customers, discounts given. It's also easier to keep track of stock quantities when the online store is tied to an inventory management program.
6. Varied marketing. It's almost impossible nowadays to make profits without marketing, attracting the attention of the customers and engaging them. With the online store the number of marketing and advertising channels available is several times greater, thus it's easier to organize games, promotions and and social network tie-ins.
7. Different payment methods – credit and debit cards, cash payment on delivery, bank transactions, etc. This is a major advantage for the customers.
8. Easier beginning for new companies and easier establishing of presence on the foreign markets – in both cases the necessary investment is less than it is with offline stores.
As for the disadvantages, which, however, are easy to overcome, we can list the following:
- the lack of physical contact in person between the customer and the goods – this is the reason why many online stores give their customers the opportunity to check out and try the ordered products before paying for them.
- the delivery cost, but the delivery is free when the order is for a bigger amount.
If, after reading all this, you've made the conclusion that your business must have an online store, start right now! It's easy!