Many retailers and small businesses consider the physical store to be the "heart" of the business. After all, it is where you made that first sale and the steady stream of customers. You are in the black, you have a roster of loyal customers and your business is steadily expanding. You are considering opening a second store, or maybe delving into franchising. So why not consider an ecommerce website? After all, your customers are starting to ask if they can order your [insert product here] online -- and by the way, do you deliver?
Give Your Loyal Customers a Chance to Shop Online
Given the state of the world and the World Wide Web, you probably already have a website, with a catalogue, a company history and maybe a few product features or blog entries about your business. But why not give loyal customers a chance to shop online? This is a big boon to many small businesses simply because although customers stay loyal, they may not stay in the same area.
The economic situation means that many people move in order to follow jobs or to find less expensive areas to live in. The option to order items online means they get to order their favorite products regardless of their location.
Give Them Convenience
Online stores are convenient -- that is the heart and soul of the ecommerce business. It means no lines, no waiting and hassle-free shopping. Extending your real-life retail store into the virtual world opens up the possibilities to your customers and gives them greater convenience when it comes to purchasing your product.
Online stores are also a great way to create additional revenue during holidays and special sale occasions, like Black Friday. Many customers who, on normal days, would be browsing your display avoid shopping on holidays. An online store allows you to give them the convenience of shopping during sales, without shoving someone out of the way to get to that door buster item. The US National Retail Federation recently published a study that stated 59% of shoppers will buy gift cards online from ecommerce retailers instead of lining up for the expected Black Friday sales.
Create a Larger Market
Online stores allow you to reach a larger target market beyond the scope of your retail store. For an entrepreneur looking to expand the business, this may be the best and most cost-effective solution. Ecommerce stores traditionally take less capital to fund and setup and give better returns with less overhead. So before you think about renting out that space downtown, try renting out some space in the cyber world. With the ecommerce market making profits up to the trillions, there are a lot of pieces of pie to go around.
Larger markets do not just mean the national target, but many ecommerce stores find themselves dealing with the international market. Increased global online spending means that more people from other countries have the power and the money to shop online -- even if they have to pay for international shipping.
Create More Revenue
Investing in an ecommerce store gives you another revenue stream -- and a way to expand your inventory. The average person spends 20% when shopping online -- it has something to do with visual stimulation and virtual money. Because they do not actually see or hold the money they use, they spend more. Cash spenders often scale back when they see how much money they are actually shelling out, a disadvantage that is not present when you shop online.
Compared to an actual store, many ecommerce sites are less expensive to maintain. They require less overhead, a smaller number of employees and give a larger return on your investment. Cutting costs always increases profit -- something any entrepreneur knows and loves.
An Online Store Never Closes
Globally, over 10% of online shopping is done via mobile phone, which adds up to billions of dollars spent shopping online. When do they shop? On the way to work, on the way home, when bored in the park, whenever they are waiting in line. 20% of online shoppers shop from their personal computer, from home and work. One of the most valid considerations for opening an ecommerce store is that online stores are never closed. You can make a sale at 7 AM and at 4 AM -- AEST, PST, and GMT.