With more people than ever shopping online, businesses need to invest in an online store in order increase their reach and boost sales. Whether it’s solely running an online store, or incorporating online shopping into an already established brick and mortar location, ecommerce is no longer a luxury and is becoming a necessity.
There are a number of reasons why consumers are now choosing to shop online over the high street and with so many benefits to shopping online, it’s understandable why ecommerce has and continues to grow so quickly.
Pros of ecommerce
Selling online comes with many benefits, most significantly, that is gives businesses a much larger chance to reach new audiences. With ecommerce, your business can’t be limited to only selling to people in the local area. With the web available to people around the world, this can result in a large amount of people viewing your website, boosting potential for profit.
Leading on from the internets worldwide access is the fact that your ecommerce business is always open. Whilst a brick and mortar store will likely only stay open for around 8 hours a day, your ecommerce website is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, allowing customers to access your website and purchase products whenever they want.
Running an online business can also reduce costs. Online only businesses don’t need pay rent on a physical property and don’t always have to pay many employees, since they don’t require the same amount of manpower, thus saving you on a number of costs.
Ecommerce operations can be scalable, meaning that it’s easy to start small and expand as your business grows. Compared to brick and mortar stores, this can be much easier, since with a physical location you need to find a larger location or warehouse, which can cost much more money in the long run.
Cons of ecommerce
With an online store you need to make sure you have a smooth checkout experience, if your customer can’t checkout their item quickly and easily they’ll leave and head to your competitors website instead. It’s also important there are no technical problems with your checkout process. With ecommerce, customers can’t speak directly with you meaning there’s no way to resolve the problem quickly, leaving customers to head elsewhere.
Whilst not necessarily a con, ecommerce websites face a lot of competition from other small businesses to huge online marketplaces such as Amazon, there are thousands of ecommerce websites operating worldwide, meaning your online business needs to invest in more marketing and work even harder than brick and mortar stores in order to stand out.
What do I need for my ecommerce store?
Running your ecommerce business can be relatively easy, IF you have the essential elements needed to launch your business successfully. Here’s a short list of what you’ll need to open your ecommerce business and generate those sales!
Before you start building your website you need a domain name suitable for your business. Your domain name is the main way visitors will find you and usually matches the business name.
You can’t sell online if you don’t have a website. Your website serves as your businesses home and can be created through online hosting services, or through a web design company and should feature information about your business, the products you want to sell and an online checkout.
Most importantly you need to have products or services which you’d like to sell. Be it small items, large items, expensive or cheap, anything can be sold online, so there shouldn’t be restrictions on what you can feature on your website.
Shopping cart software
In order to sell online you need to have an online shopping cart. Using shopping cart integration software you can give shoppers the chance to select items and buy them.
Ofter overlooked, marketing is an incredibly important part of running an ecommerce business. Without marketing it can be difficult for customers to find you or even be aware of your presence, which is why a carefully thought out marketing plan is crucial when launching your ecommerce business.
Whilst there is a lot to consider before and even after launching an ecommerce store, with technology and web trends changing rapidly, it’s alway important to have a good idea of the fundamentals before you launch your online business.
With more people opting to shop online, ecommerce is the way forward and there’s no denying that selling online continues to be one of the best ways in which you can grow your business, target new audiences and generate sales.