Electronic Commerce (eCommerce), which is the bedrock for online shopping, has opened vista of opportunities for several Nigerians who sit in the comfort of their homes and offices to shop online and get the goods and services delivered to them. Those who shop online have attested to the fact that it is convenient, safe, and time saving.
While eCommerce offers retailers ways of reaching consumers and conducting business without the need of a storefront, it faces its own concerns. Before you launch an online store, you need to be familiar with the pros and cons of running your own online business.
There are many more benefits of eCommerce. These advantages of online business will help you stay excited and motivated throughout your entrepreneurial journey and the disadvantages can help you work your way through.
No time restrictions
One big advantage to owning an online business, you don’t have a time restriction. You start when you like and close when you want. It suits your on personal timing, you work around your own schedule and spread the work throughout the day. Because there are no time restrictions, you can manage your schedule based on your business needs and goals.
Low startup costs
One of the eCommerce benefits is that it has a lower startup cost. Physical retail stores have to pay up to thousands of Naira to rent a store. They also have several upfront costs such as store signs, design, buying inventory, sales equipment, and more. Physical retail stores also have to pay staff to work and run each location. They may also need to hire security staff depending on the product value in the store.
Depending on what type of eCommerce business you run, you may only need to hire employees when you grow to a certain level. Your business expenses are generally much lower in eCommerce. This is one of the most attractive benefits for new entrepreneurs looking to keep their costs low.
You really don’t have to spend a lot of money to set up your online store. You can, for example, purchase a domain name and host your website on a very affordable plan. Selling online also allows you to reach customers from all over the world without additional costs.
24/7 Potential Income
Another advantage of eCommerce is that online stores are always open for business. you can attract someone at 11 p.m. or 4 a.m. in any part of the world. Most physical location stores are open between 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
An eCommerce store allows you to attract those who may have odd work schedules or who don’t have time to shop in-person. All you need to do is automate your ordering systems so that customers receive a confirmation email when they place their order to give them peace of mind (if you already have a website in place)
Opportunity for brand exposure
This is an opportunity to reach many new prospective customers on the internet. It’s easy for people to find your brand through online searches when you have an online presence and you can interact online. You also have access to free online tools you can use to reach and interact with your customers online.
Opportunity to Sell Internationally
A brand can sell to customers around the world easily. You have the ability to discover your audience whether they’re in the U.K., South America, or neighboring countries.
Selling worldwide is a great feat as it helps you build your brand a lot faster, broadens your marketplace exponentially, and allows you to see profit long before your local competitors.
Easy to Showcase Best product
eCommerce benefits like being able to easily display best-sellers makes it easier to show off products to customers. While you can design a brick and mortar store to sway people to buy certain products, it’s easier for a customer to find the best-sellers in an online store.
With an eCommerce store, you can include great product photography and product descriptions to sway the customer’s choice.
Easy to Re-target or Re-market to Customer
Running an online business marketing it one of the most profitable eCommerce benefits. With eCommerce stores, you can re-target people who add products to cart but don’t abandon and don’t buy or who visit a blog post and never buy. You can collect email addresses easily with an effective pop-up or lead magnet and continue marketing to your customers after you’ve made the sale.
Grow Your Business Organically with Content
With eCommerce, you can grow organic traffic and sales. From making videos to writing blog content, you’ll be able drive traffic and sales and also able to monetize those customers with re-targeting ads.
Security and fraud
Security concerns still keep many people from shopping online, you have to work harder to build trust with your customers.
Online business is expanding at a considerable rate, which means you can expect to have more competitors, and many shoppers search by product and don’t really consider the retailer, especially if they come across a bargain. This means you have to maintain an edge over your competitors to keep consumers coming to your site.
No One Can Buy During a Site Crash
It is important to ensure your website is hosted on the right platform to avoid site crash. Securing your site and hosting costs may also require you to spend more, especially if you want to upgrade your site.
However, websites aren’t the only affected sites, stores on platforms like twitter, Facebook, Instagram can also face such crashes from its network and its likely to cause problems in your business.
The bottom line is that starting an online business is a great option for a startup with a small budget for capital and can open several new opportunities, but it’s important to have a business plan with strategies detailing how you plan to handle the disadvantages.
Customers Can’t Try Before They Buy
Customers can not try out their product before buying. It is more like a blind purchase and trust.
While this is currently a problem for many retailers, this might not be a long-term problem, bigger stores are going in on augmented reality (AR) element to allow customers to try products on. Augmented reality eCommerce companies offer solutions for businesses to create a more interactive experience with your customers.
Customers Can Be Impatient
with eCommerce, customers experience delay in getting answers to inquiries. The reality is most customers expect a response from a business within the hour on social media. If you delay in responding to their message, they can become angry and shop somewhere else instead. You need to be online 24/7.
You can hire customer service representatives who are trained to make your customers happy via Up work
Most Customers consider shipping times to be one of the worst eCommerce disadvantages. When a customer shops in person she can take the product home right away. But, with online shopping, most customers receive their products in a week or more.
Some Customers gets disappointed with delivery cost tied to products they buy online. It changes the minds of customers from buying products online especially when they can go to stores and it won’t cost half as much.
Online vendors needs to find a solution to this and apply what works with them and customer.