Going back a decade, no one would have thought that eCommerce would become such a huge thing in the coming years.
I would have laughed if someone had said it would be possible to get almost everything at your doorstep within a few clicks.
But as time passed by, eCommerce became a popular term and online shopping became convenient. And today, in 2020, eCommerce is dominating the traditional retail business.
Many of the offline businesses are taking or thinking to take their business online to expand it. Why is it so? What benefits does eCommerce provide over traditional retail? Let’s try to find out.
Buying and selling of products or services over the Internet is what we call eCommerce. In other words, you can also define it as when commercial transactions are conducted online, it is eCommerce.
Some of the major benefits of eCommerce are:
As an e-retailer, you can get customers from all the areas and zones where you are targeting your business which in the case of traditional retail would have been limited to people living within a certain area range.
This becomes beneficial for the customers as well. They are not limited to buying from their nearby stores and shops which could make them compromise on the quality and the variety. In an online shop, they do not need to step outside. They can enter the store lying on their bed and look out for their desired products.
So, this creates a win-win situation for both the sellers as well as the customers.
Opening an eCommerce store involves lower cost than opening a retail store. For the latter, there is too much headache. First, you need to choose the location wisely; an area that is decently crowded with people and keeps the customers coming. Then if you are taking some space on rent, you will have to pay monthly rental, which again depends on the space occupied and the market.
The popular the market, the higher the rent! Apart from rent, there are other areas which can add to your expense such as the utilities and the employees. This is what makes the traditional retail business expensive.
E-commerce, on the other hand, requires lesser space and lower operational cost, making it one of the major reasons for businesses to go online rather than thinking about a brick-and-mortar store. To go online, you can simply choose an eCommerce platform and set up your store accordingly, cutting-down the additional costs.
Having an eCommerce business helps you keep track of some invaluable information about your customers and their shopping behaviour. For example, you can analyze how many orders have been made on your store, which are those specific areas or countries where most of your orders are coming from, how many people are visiting your website, which age group is shopping the most from your store, which gender is seen mostly on your website, which products are getting hits. All these sorts of information are highly useful for your business growth.
This is likely impossible in the traditional retail business or is too tough a task to perform.
How many customers can be accumulated in a brick-and-mortar store? From the smallest of the shop to large stores, maybe 10 or 100 or 500, even 500 looks too much. This means that you can receive only limited orders at a particular time, while in the case of eCommerce, the number goes countless.
A million people can visit your website at once, and there is no boundation on the number of orders. It’s just a matter of your brand getting popular. E-commerce giants like Amazon, Wal-Mart receive countless orders in a day.
One of the major advantages of eCommerce over traditional commerce is that the former provides you with customer reviews or product reviews which is an important factor as far as the brand credibility and customer satisfaction are concerned.
When people visit an offline store, they can only assume that the product matches their expectations. They have concerns regarding product quality, which is genuine from a buyer’s point of view. In the case of eCommerce, prospects can read customer reviews and know about the quality from the experience of past customers. This has a crucial role in influencing the prospect’s buying decision.
And the customer feedback also helps you as a seller to find out the flaws in your product so that you can rectify them later.
The success of your offline retail business is primarily measured by its reputation and popularity. And to make your brand popular and acquire new customers, you need to spend a huge sum on your marketing to get your brand noticed by the people.
Whereas in eCommerce, you can get huge “organic” traffic on your website through search engines. Almost everyone owns a smartphone today and has access to the Internet, so whatever people feel to purchase, they just enter their query on the search engine. And the chances of your website appearing on the search results are very high if the query relates to your business and if your website is SEO optimized.
If your business shows on top of the search results, you cannot even imagine the kind of boost it can give to your business. That’s the advantage of taking your business online. The organic traffic can bring you thousands or lakhs of customers.
Unlike physical retail where people have to look here and there or consult the concerned person to find the desired product, an eCommerce website simply requires users to enter their search query in the search bar.
People no longer need to carry their cart and put their items in. They can simply browse through the products, add them to cart and checkout.
While retaining customers in eCommerce is not a cupcake due to the availability of too many businesses focusing on the same niche and your competitors trying to snatch your customers every time, it is still not difficult when compared to traditional retail business.
When a customer shops offline, you never know when he would return or whether he would even return or not. There is no way you can reach out to your customers and encourage them to shop again.
But when you have an eCommerce website, you can run many deals, offers and promotions and reach out in many ways like through email marketing or your social media channels. This helps you entice customers and ensures repeat purchases.
E-commerce websites remain open 24×7 so people can place an order at their preferred time. This is very convenient from the customer’s point of view as such facility is not seen in physical stores as they have a fixed number of days and a fixed opening and closing time of the store and are often closed on holidays.
A customer’s past purchases and shopping behaviour helps business owners to give them a customized user experience based on their preference and taste, and enhance their shopping experience. You can even encourage cross-selling in eCommerce and boost the average order value.
I hope this write-up on eCommerce vs traditional commerce gave you more than enough reasons to consider taking your business online. It is not that traditional retail business has lost its charm, but having an eCommerce website is like a cherry on the cake. You can expand your business and reach new heights.
Most of the traditional retail businesses, be it at a small scale or large, are trying to set up their online presence. And it is high time you have your eCommerce website too.
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