Switching your business model from a physical store to an online shop is quite an undertaking. However, the current shopping trends suggest that more and more consumers prefer ecommerce.
From their point of view, the shopping process is more straightforward. You can also add the fact that one can find virtually everything on the Internet. And even if your country does not have the goods, international shipping can fix that.
But what about the point of view of a business? Are there any standout advantages that should encourage a model change? Unsurprisingly, there are quite a few.
Businesses do not have to commit to logistics as much when they are selling online. In a physical store, you would have to hold the goods somewhere nearby to take care of the stock.
Meanwhile, dropshipping allows you to outsource at least part of the goods if you want to save money on storage.
In addition, you have fewer worries about other aspects of logistics, such as being in charge of shipping. Of course, you will still need to collaborate with the supplier to ensure that things are going smoothly. But the bottom line is that fewer resources dedicated to logistics mean that you can spend on improving customer service and increasing your marketing efforts.
Selling certain goods online allows customization options. Let’s say that your business wants to offer custom merchandise in addition to already established products. You can consider t-shirt, hoodie, and jacket printing with Printify, for instance.
Businesses that wish to raise awareness or reward loyal customers can utilize custom merchandise as a reward, which makes the idea of print-on-demand utilization even better.
Physical stores can expect only so few new customers. More often than not, it is regular shoppers who come for a visit. Sure, physical retail stores put effort into advertising to attract more new customers, but it is to be expected to bottleneck at a certain point.
Meanwhile, selling online means that you can expect to reach new customers who would never visit your physical store due to their location.
Many online stores also have storage facilities throughout different countries and even continents. International and national shipping comes in handy for shoppers who want the goods regardless of where they live. It is up to the business to market itself and reach these new potential audiences.
Maintaining a physical store is expensive. Permits, safety precautions, rent, and other expenses add up over time and can really hinder one’s profits.
Meanwhile, running a website is hardly the same in terms of costs. Sure, you still have to pay for hosting and domain, and there are instances when you need to hire a web developer to fix various bugs and do other maintenance work, but the amount of money for an online store is much smaller.
Another example of reduced costs is the fact that you can outsource certain workers. For instance, customer support reps. So long as you can find a cheaper option that can still do the job, you can expect to save money.
Automation is worth a shout as well. Certain processes can be automated. The same example with customer support can be used here as well. Chatbots replacing real people in customer support are becoming more and more popular. The initial cost can be quite heavy, but looking long-term, it would be a worthwhile investment.
You can find physical stores that are running 24/7, but there are far too few of them for such a thing to be considered a norm.
As it happens, online stores can run non-stop so long as there are no issues with the hosting. Shoppers do not have to worry about being late to the store. Online shops do not close.
Of course, the 24/7 availability comes with the necessity to maintain the store to ensure that everything is smooth. At least one or two customer support reps have to be present as well so customers can get answers to their questions.
The bottom line is that a store that runs 24/7 is bound to make more money than a store that runs for 8 or 10 hours every day. Not to mention the weekends when a physical store would not be working at all.
Adding new products to an online store is quite easy. You need to create listings and write product descriptions. High-quality images are a must as well.
Customers also have an easier time comparing different products as they can open multiple browser tabs on their computer or mobile device.
Other than adding new products, it is also quite easy to remove products that are no longer available or out of stock. Doing it live and updating the website right away gives shoppers an idea of what they can find and what is not available.
Adjustment to Market Demands
When you are selling online, it is much easier to adapt to the trends markets dictate, especially if the business model is around dropshipping. Unlike in a physical store where you have to struggle to replace the goods, you can quickly change the products in the store and change them.
Moreover, it is much easier to implement automation and other trends whenever a new one appears. Merchants who work in a digital environment do not have to waste as many resources as a physical store would demand.
Thanks to the available tools, it is not that difficult to collect data and analyze customer behavior. With enough information, you can make smart adjustment strategies rather than guess and miss.
As you can see, there are quite a few solid reasons to switch to ecommerce or at least make it part of your operations. The advantages are clear, and it mostly comes down to convenience and not having to worry about spending money on certain costs, such as maintenance.
The transition can be a bit tricky and take time, but if you are thinking long-term, it is a worthwhile effort.