What Are The Advantages Of eCommerce?
What are the advantages of ecommerce?
What are the main advantages of doing business online? How do they impact customer shopping experience? Is ecommerce actually worth giving a try? We decided to consider all of these questions in detail and prove why these ecommerce benefits do make sense.
Advantage #1: Ecommerce saves time for a customer
Online shopping speeds up receiving a desired product and saves customers’ time and efforts. Imagine you need a particular product. If you choose to purchase it online, using only a laptop and a credit card, you spend no time reaching the brick-and-mortar store. Moreover, instead of walking from store to store looking for an item, you can immediately check whether it’s available at the store or not.
Making a purchase at an online store is a pleasant process with no no need to stay in queues. Another ecommerce advantage is that you can make purchases wherever you are, even on the way home or to the office using just your phone. And remember that your purchases will be delivered. So, there is no need to carry all of them on your way home which may be especially difficult if you purchase furniture or heavy equipment. All of these are great benefits of e-commerce for people who value their time.
Advantage #2: Detailed product information
What amount of information about an item can a physical store provide customers with? Definitely not much. Customers decide whether to buy a product or not based on packaging and brief description provided by the producer. But shopping online, you get a more detailed product description with macro photos, tutorials, unboxing videos and the list of many related products. Moreover, online shopping is a perfect opportunity to read product reviews written by other customers. All this information makes a great contribution to a more conscious “to buy or not to buy” decision. It is one of the best advantages of ecommerce and doing business online.
Advantage #3: Personalize the shopping experience
Running a brick-and-mortar store, you cannot make all your products or store pleasing to every eye. A digital store, however, offers much more extensive personalization capabilities – a wonderful ecommerce advantage for creative marketing specialists.
With the help of cookies you can collect the information about a customer and then get a clear understanding of who they are: gender, age, interests, what kinds of advertisements they better respond to and much more. Using this data, you can configure the store to automatically offer customers the products they are most likely to be interested in. The product will be similar to those they have already purchased or from their wishlist. You can also customize the store design and a welcome message. Such a great advantage of ecommerce, right?
Advantage #4: You can retarget the customers
It often happens at brick-and-mortars that even these customers who are genuinely interested in the item leave the store without purchasing it. Especially if its price is high. It happens because many people need time to think over the purchase and only then make a decision. But a lot of them may forget about it by the end of the day. Unfortunately, there is no chance you can remind them of this item and how great it is. Online, you can do it.
Retargeting is an advertisement technology that shows the product ads on web pages that the customer viewed at your online store before. It helps to unobtrusively remind customers of the product they used to like and perhaps still desire, urging them to come back to your store and reconsider. There is no doubt that it is one of the greatest ecommerce benefits.
Advantage #5: Retail with no geographical or time limits
Location of a brick-and-mortar store significantly restricts the trade opportunities of its owner. While in ecommerce, you have no limits in what countries to sell, everything depends on your intentions and resources. Running an online store, you can extend your market and customer base without renting an extra office somewhere. And thanks to improved logistics and delivery technologies, worldwide shipping will be a mission possible. Payment, in its turn, can be performed even without a credit card. Online payment gateways such as Apple Pay, PayPal and others are a modern solution for international online shopping. Yes, we can’t deny that online payments have their own pros and cons but they are a topic for a whole separate article.
What is more, the working hours of a physical shop are restricted to 8-10 hours per day. And customers can try to access the store any time while it may be closed. But an online store is not only open 24/7, it also accepts orders around the clock. This is among the benefits of e-commerce for night owls and people too busy to shop during the day.
Advantage #6: Lower costs of store maintenance
Running a brick-and-mortar store is a rather expensive activity. Just think about the cost that you will have to bear: rent of the facility, the utility bills, insurance, warehouse maintenance and salary for your staff. On top of that, you should keep in mind a high number of operational costs like repair service bills, employee training, advertising costs and so on. With an ecommerce website, you do not need to pay for a physical location. You also will require fewer staff members; if your store is small, you can even run it yourself.
Advantage #7: More affordable and effective marketing
Promoting a physical store, you use a set of traditional marketing practices. They include means of mass communication like print, radio, TV commercials, direct mail and telephone. Traditional marketing means and strategies used to be effective in a time when there were no advanced digital technologies. At the moment, these types of product promotion offer little interaction with the audience and yield poor conversion ratio.
Ecommerce works with the more advanced level of marketing technologies – digital marketing. The pros of digital marketing are its broader scope of operation and bigger number of activities that it includes: content marketing, SEO, affiliate marketing, email marketing, pay-per-click and social media marketing. Each of them uses the Internet as the media, which makes these activities less expensive and provides great global marketing advantages. Moreover, it directly interacts with numerous people who use social networks non-stop. The disadvantages of online marketing are high price of the service and the need for specific expertise to set it up.
Advantage #8: Automation minimizes human error
The majority of store operations are integrated into your ecommerce platform and set up to perform automatically. It is really great as it diminishes the probability of a mistake like a misplaced order or an incorrectly charged bill. Moreover, there are no consultants at an online store (at least, not physically present). And there is something good about it as they won’t confuse or downright your customers creating a negative reputation. We do not recommend leaving your customers completely unsupported. But ecommerce has a solution – create an FAQ page and use virtual assistance.
Advantage #9: Ability to handle multiple purchases
How many customers can a store serve at the same time? Three on average, maximum five (excluding supermarkets). There is no limit on the number of orders that can be placed, processed and paid simultaneously at an online store. What is more, customers don’t need to wait in a queue to make their purchase, which is a great ecommerce advantage for impatient people.