Written by David
18th March 2013 • 6 min read
For real-world retailers and small businesses, the prospect of entering the world of eCommerce is a daunting one. You have a ton of questions and concerns. Who will set up your website? How much will it cost? How will you manage your inventory? What about all the technical skills you need?
Truthfully, it needn’t be all that scary. You can start small, learn a little bit each day, and see where it takes you.
Still not sure? We’ve got 8 reasons you should take the plunge today.
1. Low Cost To Entry
Setting up shop online needn’t be expensive or technically challenging. You can start for free on eBay or Amazon, and both of these provide tutorials for sellers (Amazon’s tutorial is here and eBay’s is here). Both allow you to dip your toe in the water without splashing the cash, and if you find your paddle into the world of eCommerce works well, you can always take it to the next level and go for a swim.
2. Smell What Sells
You probably have a good idea of what your regular customers like to buy. But your current customer-base might be set in their ways, and reluctant to try out new products, which makes it tricky to test the market. Going online provides you with a low-risk way to test the demand for a product before launching it in your store. You’ll gain insight into what your customers really want.
3. Go Global
With an online store, anyone in the world can browse your products, and if you set up international shipping, anyone can buy. Your pool of potential customers jumps from thousands to millions. That’s not to say all those millions will buy – you’ll have to get them to your website first. But it does mean you can dream big without busting your bank account.
4. Boost Brand Awareness
Being online provides an alternative forum for customers to discover your brand and your values. It’s like having another shop front, except this one’s on Google rather than the high street.
Your website is the perfect place to share your brand values, history and vision, so even current customers can find out more of your story.
5. Go Niche
The vast number of consumers in cyberspace mean that successful e-commerce businesses (the big guns such as Amazon and eBay excepted) will be those who tighten rather than broader their customer appeal. By aiming for a specific target, you’re more likely to hit bulls-eye and touch the hearts of your customers.
If you’ve always dreamed of narrowing your business focus, but been unwilling to take the risk, online is the place to go, because the odds are on your side.
6. Improve Customer Service
Sure, going online will mean, in some cases, sacrificing the face-to-face customer service you’re so proud of. But what about the customers who don’t have time to come back to your store when they experience a problem with something you sold them? Providing a virtual space where they can resolve their problems makes for happier customers, and means you can offer better customer service at lower cost.
7. Open 24/7
Even if trading laws allowed you to keep your shop open all day, every day, would it really be worth the hassle? You’d have the extra cost of night-time staff and security, and the customers who wandered in at 3am would probably be there to escape the cold night air rather than to buy anything.
Online, you give your customers the opportunity to shop when they have the time to shop, at their convenience. They can put in their order on their morning commute, or after the kids have gone to bed. And you can offer all this without any of the frustrations of late-night opening hours.
8. It’s Simpler than You Think
When you want to expand beyond eBay and Amazon, there are many tools you can use to grow your eCommerce business and establish your own website for minimum fuss. These include WordPress eCommerce themes, and Shopify, which allows you to set up a functional online store in a matter of minutes.
Meanwhile, inventory management solutions such as Veeqo make it simple to keep track of everything, whether it’s in-store, or on Amazon, eBay or Shopify.
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