Purchasing things online has never been easier with the presence of the marketplace and eCommerce website. Although online buying has been existing for decades, only when the Covid-19 pandemic hit, did the surge of this consumerism skyrocket.
According to a statistic, there are 62% of online purchases in 2020 in the United States. This number is expected to rise in the coming years as it multiplies with more than 291.2 million US online shoppers in 2025.
That being said, doing business online is surely beneficial for businesses, especially if they are brand-new companies trying to acquire a larger audience. So, is ecommerce worth it? We think so! Having an official presence on online media helps businesses achieve their goals, and one of them is increasing revenue.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of eCommerce For Business
Compared to other business methods, eCommerce is highly preferred because it is more convenient and practical, not to mention that it widens the company’s reach. Whether you’re doing regular campaigns like promotions on TikTok, you can always connect them with your eCommerce website.
There are, of course, cons to running an online business. The Learning Curve might take some time for those who are unfamiliar with the internet and how it works. Security risks are also rampant in this type of platform since there have been many cases of data breaches in the past.
However, with a reliable eCommerce platform and proper security measures, these cons can be mitigated, if not eliminated.
Below are the pros and cons of establishing eCommerce for your business.
1. Reach a Wider Market
An essential element for any business is the market. If you have a small market and audience, the chance of getting higher conversions is smaller. This, however, works differently when you have a greater market.
For example, if you do business offline, you'll only rely on physical stores and traditional marketing campaigns to get people to visit your place. This also means you have fewer potential customers because of area limitations. People around your region will be most likely your target audience.
Others may take a commute to your store, but that's unlikely to happen unless your business has a good name and influence among people. So, not having an online presence will hinder you from achieving more.
With eCommerce, businesses have the advantage of targeting a larger audience and market. Because the internet knows no bounds, your business can be seen by anyone around the world as long as they have an internet connection.
In general, eCommerce businesses have seen an increase in sales and ROI (return on investment). Because of the global reach, 24/7 accessibility, and easy transactions of online stores – more people are now patronizing them.
Another good thing about eCommerce is that it's more cost-effective in the long run. If you're starting a business from scratch, the initial investment for an online store is way cheaper than putting up a physical one.
You don't need to worry about rental fees and other miscellaneous expenses (like water and electricity) that come with a brick-and-mortar office or store. Securing permits will also be a lot easier and faster since you're only operating online.
Of course, there are other expenses that come with an online business like website maintenance, internet connection, and others. But generally, it's more affordable to maintain an online store than a physical business. For one, you don't need to print catalogs and other marketing materials since you can do digital marketing.
3. Get Customer Insights Using Analytics
Understanding customers' insights can be effectively acquired through online campaigns as they are measurable. Businesses can use analytics to know where their website traffic is coming from, what time of day they're most active, and other relevant data.
This information can help businesses improve their marketing strategies and overall operations. They'll be able to know which areas need more improvement and focus on those to get better results.
4. More Personalized Approach
The perks of using an eCommerce website, businesses can have a chance to connect with potential customers at a higher level. Brands can send personalized messages to their customers, offering new products or just giving information for future discounts.
Customers will love it when brands can speak in their languages and understand what they actually need. For example, businesses can incorporate explainer videos to convey promotional information without removing the personal touch on them so people watching the content will get the message in a fun way.
5. Fast Response to Market Demands
Businesses can change direction and reroute their offers to fits the market more easily when done on online platforms. eCommerce provides the agility businesses need to quickly adapt their product offerings in order to stay ahead of the competition.
You can't do it when you only have physical stores. It's harder to adapt to change when you've established “physically” because you'll need to adjust to the change by doing more work that cost a lot. For example, if you need to change your product packaging, it will require you to print new labels and tags which can be costly.
6. Automate Business Operations
eCommerce platforms have features that automate different business processes. With automation, businesses can focus on other areas that need improvement.
Some of the things that can be automated in an online store are:
– Inventory management
– Customer relationship management
– Accounting and bookkeeping
– Shipping and logistics
1. Technology and Security Issues
Security issues have been a problem for businesses starting an eCommerce platform. If the website is not made with caution and is generally not secure, it might get hacked which will result in a great loss for the company.
You can lose important data, such as customers' personal information, business reports, marketing strategies, and more. Hackers will use this information against you or they will sell it to other businesses.
Preventing these security issues should be a top concern for businesses that are just starting an eCommerce website. They should look for ways to make their website more secure like adding an SSL certificate and investing in a good web hosting service.
2. Requires High-Quality Content
When selling online, businesses need to invest in high-quality product photos and descriptions. This is to ensure that customers will know what they're buying and that they'll be satisfied with their purchase. If you don't have high-quality content, it will reflect badly on your business and you might lose potential customers.
Remember that people visit your eCommerce website first before deciding to buy products from you. If the website content isn't engaging, no one will be interested to check out your offer.
3. Limited to Online Customers Only
One of the major stepbacks of eCommerce is that it lacks customer service that can be given by human interaction. eCommerce platforms are only limited to online customers. This means that if you're not promoting your business online, you're missing out on a lot of potential sales.
Moreover, customers who have little interaction with brands will find it difficult to build trust with them. In this case, businesses should focus on building strong relationships with their online customers by providing great customer service and creating high-quality content.
4. You Need to Stand Out from the Competition
It takes time and effort to set up an eCommerce website. This is especially true if you're just starting out as a business with no experience in building an eCommerce platform.
The eCommerce industry is very competitive. If you want to succeed, you need to stand out from the rest. This can be done by offering something unique or having better prices than your competitors.
You may need to use email marketing campaigns to boost visitors to your site. A company newsletter is effective in driving traffic to eCommerce platforms, especially when there's a deal or campaign that urges recipients to click on the call-to-action (CTA) button on the email.
5. The Longer Waiting Time
This is something online buying customers always experience and becomes the cons of eCommerce. Customers need to wait until the products are delivered to their doorstep which takes 1-2 days, or even longer. The long waiting time might affect customer satisfaction and make them regret their purchase decision.
Compared to buying clothes in-store, online can't check the size and material more precisely as they can touch and feel it in person. It is a great deal of risk for customers when they shop online, especially for clothes and shoes. The products might not meet their expectation due to the long waiting time which is one of the cons of eCommerce.
To solve this problem, businesses should offer a fast and reliable delivery option for their customers. They can also provide a tracking number so that customers can track their order status and estimate the delivery time.
Other Methods of Doing Business Online Vs. eCommerce
Although there are other ways you can sell online through classified ads, social media, or email marketing; eCommerce provides a more professional way to do business. It also has many features and benefits that other methods don't offer.
For example, with eCommerce, you can have a shopping cart where customers can add items they want to buy. This is not possible with classified ads or social media. With email marketing, you can only provide a link to your website where customers can learn more about your products or services.
Ecommerce also offers a more secure way to do business as it uses SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) which encrypts sensitive information such as credit card details and passwords. This is to prevent cyber criminals from stealing this information.
Ecommerce also has a built-in payment gateway which makes it easier for customers to pay for their purchases. With other methods, you need to set up a separate payment gateway or use a third-party provider such as PayPal.
Overall, eCommerce is the best way to do business online as it offers many features and benefits that other methods can't provide. It's also more secure and convenient for customers as they can shop from the comfort of their own homes.
Is eCommerce Worth It?
The internet has no boundaries. When you have an online store, you can reach customers from all over the world. This is especially beneficial for businesses that are selling unique or niche products that can't be found in brick-and-mortar stores.
However, with great opportunity comes great responsibility. You need to make sure that you're offering a great customer experience and providing high-quality products or services. You also need to stand out from the competition as the eCommerce industry is very competitive.
Despite these challenges, eCommerce is still the best way to do business online. It offers many features and benefits that other methods can't provide.
1. What is an eCommerce platform?
Ecommerce is a platform where businesses can sell their products or services online using a website. It uses a shopping cart system where customers can add items they want to purchase and make payments using multiple methods, such as debit/credit card, PayPal, Payoneer, etc.
2. How to establish an eCommerce website?
To establish an eCommerce website, you need to register a domain name and hosting plan. You also need to choose an eCommerce platform, such as Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento, etc. Once you have chosen your platform, you can start building your website by adding products or services.
3. How to promote products on eCommerce websites?
There are various ways you can promote products on eCommerce websites, such as SEO (Search Engine Optimization), social media marketing, email marketing, and many more.
4. When is the right time to build an eCommerce website?
There is no perfect time to build an eCommerce website. However, it's always good to plan ahead and start as early as possible. This way, you can build a successful website and avoid any last-minute rush.
This article was kindly written by Andre Oentoro, who is the founder of Breadnbeyond, an award-winning explainer video production company. He helps businesses increase conversion rates, close more sales, and get positive ROI from explainer videos (in that order).