This year, i.e. 2020, since most of the physical businesses are affected due to the pandemic. The world has now moved to a contact-less and E-form of shopping, i.e. online shopping. This has paved the way for many traditional and physical business owners to switch online. Thus transforming the way business is carried on. Let’s take a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of online selling.
What Is Online Selling?
Online Selling is a type of electronic commerce that connects the sellers and buyers to exchange products and services. In today’s time and date, it is the most popular form of commerce, where sales purchases are done via digital means.
eCommerce business is done via a web browser through an eCommerce website or social media platform. One thing to keep in mind is that if you have a well-defined product that needs no physical involvement during the sales process, eCommerce is a good way to begin.
Additionally, your product prices cannot fluctuate and delivery of the product should be with a span of a few days. As a seller, online sales help you to gain a wider reach. As per data, there were almost 2.8 billion digital buyers in the year 2018. And it is estimated to reach around 4.8 trillion by 2021.
These numbers have engaged a lot of business owners to switch online. But before that let’s see the various advantages and disadvantages of online selling.
Advantages of Online Selling
Online Selling has been benefited in the past 4 months. What’s more to understand is the reason, “Why is it working so well?”
No Limit to Geographical Boundaries
Selling online increases one’s reach. With a shift to online, there is no limit to how many people are actually visiting your store physically. In today’s date and time, when a customer thinks of shopping, they first prefer searching it online. As per research data by Thinkwithgoogle in 2018, 63 percent of shopping occasions begin online.
This states that whether a purchase is done or not, a customer relies on online means to research and get what they are searching for. For this, as an online store / eCommerce business owner, it is very important to have a strong online presence. A good eCommerce website or an online store, a variety of products to display, and the right prices is needed to stay ahead of the competition.
Additionally, this also allows one to expand into the global market. You need not worry if your potential prospect lives in a location that is close to your warehouse or your manufacturing unit. Instead a user from 1000 miles away too can access and purchase from your store.
No Closing Time
With an online store, you really do not have a close down time. your store is 24/7 visible to as many customers as would want to come it. Also, all of this is possible withing the comfort of their laptops and desktops, over the sofas in their leisure attire.
Moreover, they get to see all your products available for display by just navigating through your eCommerce website. They can buy a product at their convenience, pay via secure digital gateways and wait patiently as they receive their products through a home delivery process. What more can a shopper ask for?
As an eCommerce business owner, what you need to keep in mind is that the pathway to purchase your products is different. No two shoppers are thinking alike while analyzing your product. Providing detailed information through your content is the key. Just as a salesman would do at a physical store.
Your website should be mobile as well as desktop friendly. The rise of smartphones has given rise to shopping via this device. Also, consider the speed of the eCommerce website. It is recorded that a user doesn’t spend more than few seconds on a website if it doesn’t interest them.
You are a business owner. You have a physical store. Now you have decided to switch online. But wait! Why not do both. An eCommerce website is a multichannel platform that drives a customer from any pathway chosen. Here, one can visit a physical store and yet buy online or browse to social media and make their purchase. Also, the ongoing trend of third-party sources to sell your products is on the rise.
Dropshipping, is one of the most common eCommerce business model to consider. You sell via the dropshipper and pay him for the lead generation. Your process still remains the same, and your brand is known to a wide range of consumers.
The more the platforms, the wider reach. You can target various segments all at once, based on the platform chosen. There is nothing to lose, and the end result is increased sales, thus increased revenue.
You Know Your Audience
The one major difference between a physical and online store is that you know who your audience is. Physical store visits doesn’t give one the freedom to collect the personal details of a customer. however, through an eCommerce website one can get the complete details of a online shopper, along with its name, age, contact number, email address and residence address.
What will you do with all of this? Well! Customer data is the most important aspect of your business. Through the information provided, you can ensure customer interaction, customer engagement and customer satisfaction. Also, the various marketing tools like facebook ad campaigns, SEO and SMM, Google Analytics, etc. allows you to understand the complete bifurcation of your audience. It gives information about:
- Who are your audience
- Which age category they fall under
- Where are they located in
- How did they get to know about you
- Which platform does your audience use
- Which product has a higher demand
- Marketing Strategy that has best worked for you
- What is the price range that your audience consider
- How much time have they spent on your web store
Well Managed Store
An eCommerce business paves the way for faster and easier store management. Since everything is automated, as a business owner, one need not worry about billing, invoices, shipping details, etc. You are also aware of the number of products sold, the number of products available, handling of stock inventory, order fulfillment procedures, real-time tracking, up-to-date shipment, and so on.
Disadvantages of Online Selling
While selling online has its advantages and benefits, it equally has added disadvantages. Few of which, as a business owner, need to be aware of before you switch online.
No Room For Trial And Error
Users who shop online are virtually seeing your product. They have a pictorial representation of the product will look, however, they do not know if they will receive the same or not. While some companies are true to their display, some mistake and fool their customers. This paves the way for negative reviews, eventually losing a customer’s trust in online selling.
Also, the customers cannot test or try on the product. They are in a confused state of mind before purchase. As an owner you have lose customers if you aren’t true to your words or perform the task of reverse logistics, where you have to spend those extra bucks from your pockets.
Rise In Competition
eCommerce is global and any consumer from any part of the world can buy from any seller of their choice. This means that the competition with the eCommerce industry is not just engaging consumers, rather staying ahead of other sellers as well. The industry has taken a leap since the last decade. New advancement s in technology and the fully automated feWith e-commerce not only potential customers increase, but also direct competitors.
Hence an online presence is a must. Through Inbound marketing and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), one can achieve the same. Also, putting those extra bucks in Google Adwords and various other Social Media Campaigns can get a reach you are looking for to stay ahead of the competition.
No Personal Shopper Assistant
While online selling definitely has been a boon because of the ease and convenience of shopping, one thing that it lacks is personal shopper assistant. Physical stores have a salesperson that guide and advise the cutsomers of what kind of product is available based on their needs and demands. However, online stores do not have the same pathway to purchase.
Although in today’s day and time, live chat through virtual chat bots do serve this purpose, but only to a certain limit. These chatbots navigate the users to where they want to be directed along with the right alternatives available as per the consumer’s wants and demands.
Lack Customer Loyalty
Another major disadvantage of online selling is that a certain population still lacks confidence while shopping online. The major reason is online payment methods and transfer of personal information. Since everything is internet-based, remote shoppers face network issues. This paves the way for failed purchase transactions, the amount debited yet not received by the seller or payment stuck halfway through. Also, there is a chance for misuse of personal information.
Additionally, customer feedbacks play a major role in purchase behavior. one negative feedback and customer has lost its trust in you.
Delay in Delivery
Every eCommerce seller needs an effective shipping solution. Without which, a delay in delivery backfires customer satisfaction. Moreover, along with the delivery time and date, handling the product without any damage is the key. If the customer fails to receive what they have demanded for, they are dissatisfied.
Tracking in real time along with timely updates to the customer is another important aspect. The few important aspects to keep in mind are:
- Package Right
- Ensure Correct Labels
- Choose the right shipping carrier
- Check on the delivery schedule
- Cross check the customer information
- Add invoices and correct billing information
Now that you are well aware of the advantages and disadvantages of online selling, go ahead and analyse your business before you move online. Or if you are already a part of the eCommerce industry, consider various applying the different strategies.
Dash101 is your one-stop-shop that caters to all your shipping needs. With different channel integration and a wide range of courier integration, you are sure with an effective eCommerce shipping solution. Dash101 is not just your shipping partner, rather a business partner.
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