The internet is a massive platform, giving you so many more options than you would have otherwise, and ignoring it could spell disaster for your business in the long term; this, after all, is where your customers are.
Here are some of the biggest benefits to opening an online shop and selling through it, whatever your business happens to be. Don’t forget, you don’t have to sell physical products; you can sell services just as easily, or even a combination of the two, so don’t restrict yourself even if you think your business couldn’t possibly benefit or make use of the online space.
Low Running Costs
The costs of setting up a physical shop are huge. And there are a lot of them. You need to think about the rent, security, stock, staffing, equipment, rates, and plenty more besides. Not only that, but you need to think of the cost to you too – parking, commuting, even something as simple as buying a lunch every day will soon add up.
The beauty of opening an online store is that these costs are greatly reduced, and running costs are minimal. You need to pay for your website and… that’s about it. You don’t even have to hold stock if you work in a certain way. You may not need to have staff, you can work from home, and there will be no business rent or rates to pay. Of course, tax and other business expenses still count, so be aware of that, but generally the running costs are going to be much lower when you open an online shop compared to a brick and mortar one.
Work From Anywhere
When you have a physical store, you are necessarily tied into that space. That’s where you work from, that’s where your business is. So your target audience might be restricted to those already in your area who come in to buy from you, or those who have heard of you and want to make the trip especially.
This won’t be the case when you have an online store. The very fact that it is operating on the internet means that you can open your business up to the world, and sell to anyone anywhere. You can put limits of it; you might only want to ship to your own country as it reduces complications and costs, for example. But even if you do choose to do this, you will be open to the whole country rather than just a small part of it.
As well as this, not having to go to an office or shop each day means you can conduct your business from anywhere. With a laptop or even a tablet or smartphone, you can reply to emails, arrange for packages to be sent out, deal with social media advertising and engagement, and plenty more. No matter whether you choose to head out to the park for a walk or stay inside all day, or even go on holiday, you can easily keep an eye on what’s happening and stay on top of your business.
Scaling It Up
Scaling your business up is often going to be part of any plan you make for its future. It’s the point of having a business; you want to see it grow. When you have an online shop, this growth is easily achieved. You will be able to see instantly which products are selling and which aren’t, meaning you can ditch the ones that no one wants and focus more on the items that everyone loves. Bring in similar items, expand your range without any excess cost to you, and sell more products as you go.
Being online means that you can tap into a variety of analytical algorithms that will show you who is coming to your site too. So not only will you know what’s selling at a glance, you’ll know who’s buying it. This is important since it means you can target these people in your advertising, making it more effective (and cost effective).
No Opening Times
Being open 24/7 can be useful. A physical store that’s open all day every day needs the staff to fill the shifts, and it might not be hugely cost effective; what if you open all the time but people only buy from you at night on a handful of occasions throughout the year? You’ll be making a loss before you know it.
An online store will be open 24/7, but it won’t need staff to run it. With an automated selling system on your website, your customers will be able to buy from you without you needing to be there to oversee it all. When you wake up in the morning, you’ll have an email letting you know what needs to be shipped. Making money in your sleep suddenly became very possible.
Being open all the time isn’t just about making you more money, even if it does help in that regard. It’s also about showing your customers a greater level of convenience. They know they can come to you whenever they need to, buying whatever they want whenever they want, in the comfort of their own home. Whether that happens to be two in the morning or two in the afternoon makes no difference.
Less Time Intensive
Although it may take some time to set up your ecommerce website, once that set up is done, you can often just leave the site to do its thing, allowing customers to browse and buy, without needing to be involved.
If you only have an online store and no physical version to attend to, you can do other things while you make money selling online. Of course, you will need to oversee things, answer queries, make sure items are being sent out etc, but in general terms an online shop is a ‘set and forget’ kind of business.
It does pay to keep your website design modern and up to date, though. A refresh everyone 12 months or so will keep your customers happy and allow you to redesign your store.
In most cases, an online shop will allow you to set yourself higher margins. This is because there are far fewer expenses, so your profits won’t be spent elsewhere. In terms of making money, an online store really is hard to beat.