You’re taking the plunge. You’ve finally decided to launch an online business. But before you hang up your e-shingle, make sure you know the pros and cons of starting an eCommerce business. Success isn’t automatic, and there’s lots of competition out there.
Other than it doesn’t require a ginormous investment, perhaps the best thing about opening a business online is that it can be started and run from any place at any time. Okay, let’s just say it: what with all the tools offered by numerous digital hosts and e-business resources, you can run your business from the comfort of your home.
Oh, and the startup time is swift, compared to tradition businesses. Depending on what kind of business it is, it’s possible to set up a store in under an hour.
No Need to Break the Bank
As we say, you don’t need a lot of bucks to start an online store. Perhaps that’s partly why a whopping 200 million websites are on the web, eh? In the days before the Internet, you had to plop down a bunch of moola to get going. These days, all you need is a domain name and host, both of which you can get for under a hundred bucks. What’s more, the proliferation of drop-shipping and wholesaling firms has easy rendered access to a wide range of affordable products.
All Night Long (and all day, too)
One huge benefit to starting ecommerce business is that stores are always open — because the Internet is. Isn’t it grand, the idea of making money while you’re sleeping or on vacation?
Plenty of Rivals
As we’ve established, competition is stiff, in terms of the volume of online stores. And the kicker is, some, if not many, of them are peddling something that’s similar to what you’re offering. It can be challenging for new businesses to gain traction in a given market.
Harder to Establish a Good Rep
People typically buy from businesses they know or that were referred to them. That’s true even if the goods or services elsewhere are of higher quality. With so many eCommerce businesses out there, lots of people shop around or delay purchasing until they read customer reviews.
And we don’t mean ‘skeeters. You’re going to have technical issues. Even with all the available tools and resources, building an eCommerce site can be glitchy. After all, you’re dealing with fairly sophisticated stuff like payment processing and shopping carts. If you use a computer – who doesn’t? – you know that websites can go down for whatever reason, some more confounding to solve than others. And you can’t sell when your site is not working.
A great advantage to eCommerce is that you don’t have all the costs associated with running a brick-and-mortar store. From the building itself to signage, to insurance and staff, you’re going to come out of your pocket. This does a number on profit margins and increases prices.
Access to Customer Info
Yep, another benefit of having an online business is the ability to collect customer data. Technology has increased by leaps and bounds in this area, and soon you’ll be able to pinpoint likely customers with dazzling accuracy.
Getting ahold of this precious info will also provide a nuanced snapshot of the folks you are targeting. You’ll find out who they are, what they like to do, and where they like to go. You can use all this information in your marketing.
Now that you know the pros and cons of starting an eCommerce business, you can know what to expect and what to prepare for. There certainly are tons of help available, of which you should make use.
Here’s to eCommerce success!