With the exponential growth of e-commerce, online retailing is undergoing a rapid transformation and it is now counting for one-quarter of total retail. Retailers who ignore online retailing could see a gradual decrease in their business as people will continue to warm up to online ordering. However, it is worth considering, both the pros and cons of online retail versus a traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ approach to get a better picture of what you are dealing with and plan your business accordingly.
Pros of Online Retailing:
Easy To Start
The budget required to start an online business is much lower than traditional retail. Unlike a ground retail store, there is no rent to pay or other utility bills to clear, except for web hosting and technical support. Since you can manage the work yourself your costs are directly related to your website maintenance, shipping, and accepting online payments, which is less expensive than opening a retail storefront.
Online retailing gives you access to a much wider geographical pool as you can have national and international reach. You are effectively boosting your audience by listing online. You can sell your products to people around the globe where your physical store couldn’t serve. Again you will be able to increase sales as there will be scope for more people to buy from you.
Unlike a high street shop, trading on the Internet can be made 24-7. You need not manage the store in order to make a sale, which means your customers can shop online when it is convenient for them and lets you offer your services at any time, unlike the physical store. More selling time means more sales so this will increase your benefits.
For a simple trading business, once you are done with setting up a website and listing your products, you need far fewer resources to maintain. You don’t need someone to be manning the online store. This means you don’t need to pay someone for maintenance when you are not around or are too busy with other work.
Attract more customers
Another reason for most people opting for online shopping is they can easily browse through dozens of different websites to find the best price. Also, there are many coupon sites, where we get updates of Online Offers and special discounts that are currently running online. So it is a better choice to opt for online retail to attract more customers.
More convenient & flexible
Want to work from home? Need to update your products on a Sunday or night time? With your online channels, this is easy, you can be based from anywhere, anytime. You get control when and where necessary as your customers also will be availing your store remotely at any time.
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Cons of Online Retailing :
Although online retail has many pros, we must also be aware of the cons too.
The high street has a limited shop whereas the internet has no limitations on the number of competing retailers that can strive to win business away from you. When using online trading your product might be listed next to similar products of other retailers. This means, that you are competing with retailers who have equal potential, and who might beat you on shipping costs or handling times.
Hard To Maintain
Online business is hard to maintain. Creating product listings is a time-consuming process and maintaining the product catalogue is a never-ending job. You need to write and update detailed product descriptions, upload listings, item packages, post items, and also the usual stock control that is involved with a physical store. That is more time-consuming than displaying items on shelves for customers to see and collect themselves. In addition, all sales should be packed and dispatched on a daily basis in online business.
It is little harder to speak to customers and upsell items to them in an effective way. There is no getting away from it and customers can be a pain. Being a retailer involves dealing with the general public so it is important to be patient. Whereas online stores will inspire less loyalty to them for the same reason. Moreover, people will be more likely to be loyal to the local shop than to a faceless website.
Difficulty in Marketing
For offline retailing the potential customer base is limited to the surrounding area on other hand the customer base is vast. Once you open up an online retail your options for attracting new customers are unlimited. You are not confined to a limited online retail space that you chose and the overall marketing strategy is more expensive.
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