eCommerce – Advantages and Disadvantages

The exciting news for wannabe eCommerce entrepreneurs is that worldwide online sales are expected to grow to $4 trillion by 2020. (Now that is a lot of ZAR’s). It’s important to stay excited and motivated when starting a new business. With our simple and effective ideas and development expertise, we can most definitely hold your hand while you start your online business. In this article, eCommerce – Advantages and Disadvantages, you can discover some of the highs and lows of owning an eCommerce business and what you may encounter on this journey. With our full panoply of marketing services, our specialised team will roll up our sleeves and get under the bonnet of your business.

Let’s start on a positive note and examine some of the advantages. The number 1 advantage of eCommerce is the relatively low running cost, with other obvious pros which include selling internationally, retargeting customers and personalisation of the buying experience. Let’s dig a little deeper and help you decide if an online store is the right fit for you.


Guidelines to eCommerce Advantages

Low Financial Cost

Well you have no physical retail store, signage, inventory, point of sale equipment nor staff; ie a low start-up cost. What a pleasure. You just need a great brand image and digital partner to help with your web development needs. Depending on what type of eCommerce business you run, you might need staff, but only when you grow to a certain level. These employees can also work remotely, further cutting costs. If you choose to dropship online, you won’t need to buy bulk inventory saving you a lot of money.

Round the Clock Potential Income

Without the problem of opening hours of a physical store, you are always open for business. With the proper help from our developers to get your online store fully automated. Not only could you sell to buyers in another time zone, but your eCommerce store allows you to attract those who may have odd work schedules or who don’t have time to shop in-person. If customers order well into the night, you won’t need staff on night shift or a security guard!

International Audience

Your new brand can sell to customers around the world easily. With an eCommerce store, you can discover your audience whether they’re local, in a neighbouring country or in the U.K. or USA. Selling worldwide broadens your marketplace exponentially giving you an edge on your local businesses.

Highlight your Bestsellers

With customer reviews and happy customers who have bought your product online, it is so easy to sway your visitors to buy your bestsellers. Furthermore, communication tools, with great photography and descriptions, you can definitely attract buyers with your proven sales successes on your blog or any of your other communications tools.

Personalise your site

One of the online business advantages is the ability to create personalised landing pages for different audiences to entice them to buy from you in the most automated way possible. You cannot pay attention or mollycoddle a customer like you can in store, so you need to do the work before and release the personalised campaigns to your segmented customer base. Show the customer only what you know will be interesting to them.

Encourage Impulse Buying

With attractive product photography, positive reviews, countdown timers, showcasing limited quantities or telling a compelling story, you can capitalise on the impulse buyer!

Easy to resell and customer data

With the simple use of a Facebook pixel, and using certain apps, you can retarget the browsers who visit your store but don’t buy. With eCommerce stores, you can retarget people who add products to the cart and then abandon before purchase or alternatively do actually buy. You can track visitors who visit your blog, but never buy. The lead generation can happen even if you haven’t received a purchase. You can easily collect email addresses with an attractive pop-up allowing you to continue marketing to a customer even after they have completed a purchase.

Most people feel uncomfortable giving away email addresses or postal address to physical retailers. In eCommerce, you can get your customer’s name, mailing address, e-mail address, and phone number. That means you have at least three different ways to communicate and build a relationship with them.

Guidelines to eCommerce Disadvantages

Unfortunately, we always have to weigh in the disadvantages. As much as we have outlined the pros when starting an online store, it is important to be realistic about what can go wrong. eCommerce – Advantages and Disadvantages – do not apply to a physical store, but still exist. Below are a few eCommerce disadvantages.

If your site is down so is your ability to sell

Make sure your site is hosted on the correct platform. One of the worst eCommerce disadvantages is that no one can buy if your online store goes down. Think about upgrading from a basic package which will not allow for major traffic surges.

Your visitor cannot try the product before purchase

Of course, if you walk into a physical store you can actually try the pair of shoes on before purchasing them. Even though this may seem like a disadvantage, with augmented reality and online interactive experience being a possibility, this will not be a long-term problem.

Highly Competitive marketplace

Finding the right audience who are not already being targeted by competitors is always a challenge. People are already drawn to the best niches, that’s why they are the most competitive. The more competitive a niche is, the more expensive ads for that niche are.  There are ways around this but you may need help with identifying if you should be blogging , trying to rank organically with SEO optimisation or focussing on social media marketing or paying for your clicks.

Impatient Customers

Most ECommerce stores will not be able to respond immediately to a customer inquiry. This delay in response to a customer message, can make them shop somewhere else in a fit of frustration or anger. You simply have to be online 24/7. The reality is most customers expect a response from a business within the hour. Again, with the advance of online technology there are ways around this, but you would need to be connected to a development service who could hook you up with the best solution for your website to keep current with your customer’s needs.

You will need to courier or ship your products

The worst disadvantage to an ECommerce business is that the customer does not receive his purchase right away. Most customers will have to wait at least a week before their purchase arrives due to shipping delays. The best fix here, would be to be totally transparent with your customer and let them know exactly when they can expect their package. Over and above this, its always good to partner with a good shipping service provider and try to get your developer to integrate this solution into your website.

Physical retail therapy still has the upper hand

Physical retail still owns most of the market share. Even Amazon, credited for the demise of traditional brick-and-mortar retailers, has now expanded their physical footprint across the U.S and globally. The number of potential online retailers keeps growing, so there is still plenty to go around!

Choosing the best e-commerce platform for your new online business is much like choosing the ‘best car.’  The market is flooded with options and it’s a mammoth decision that could impact on your success. If you have read ECommerce – Advantages and Disadvantages  and if you are shopping around for your new online store, email us and let’s start the conversation.