Pros & Cons Of Taking Your Business Online. We live in a world where online presence has become a part, or in fact, the very evidence of our existence. Over 70% of the global population today spends at least two hours of their day on the internet. These statistics have driven businesses, too, online, who saw this as an opportunity to reach out to an audience worldwide with no geographical barriers. eCommerce has witnessed a striking growth in the past few years because of which, many businesses have already moved to or are in the process of moving online. With the success of brands like Amazon, Flipkart, Nykaa, etc., many businesses are trying to follow in the footsteps.
And after 2020, which forced people to observe social distancing under strict lockdown, their dependencies on online shopping is said to have increased even more. But does it mean that every business has to be online? Is there no growth potential for offline businesses? Even if one plans to move online, is it going to be all great with no disadvantages or challenges? In this blog post, we are going to explore some key advantages and disadvantages of businesses online.
Pros Of Taking Your Business Online:
1. Low Operational Cost:
In an online business, you do not need to burn a hole in your pocket to buy a fancy store with an expensive front and at a high-end location to attract premium buyers. It eliminates the need for establishing a physical store as all the selling and purchasing takes place through your website. Building a website is comparatively very cheap than a physical store and thus saves your operational costs. Now, you have an edge over your competitors, and the ability to provide your customers with products at reduced prices. Many businesses also try to pad their profit margins, however, that might not be a good practice. Instead, you could create a balance between retaining profit margins & distributing its benefits to your customers in the form of more discounts.
2. Customer Data:
When a person makes an online purchase with you, their data gets stored on your platform automatically. Customer data is the most significant element for any business that allows you to connect with them after they’ve made a purchase with you. However, online businesses have taken it a step ahead by collecting visitor data through cookies and enabling cross-selling. For instance, if you visit an eCommerce website & switch to some other platform, say Facebook, without making a purchase. As you scroll down your feed, you’d notice the ads for the same product that you viewed on the eCommerce website along with some others. Also, you can allow your website customers to create a profile with you by filling in personal details like address, email ID, contact number, gender, etc. You can now create targeted marketing campaigns, web page optimization, and product development.
When a customer walks into a retail store, he has to buy from the available options. Also, businesses have to create a huge stock of different kinds of products to cater to their customers’ needs. Still, there are cases when the desired product is not available; the visitor either has to settle a substitute or search at another store. Both the scenarios are not good for any business.
Online business does not require you to maintain stocks. You can take your customer order & then arrange for supplies to fulfill it. This reduces your cost of investment, wastage due to insufficient storage, and boosts customer satisfaction.
4. Adaptability:Online businesses are in a better position to adapt to the modern needs of customers. It gives a better insight into the customer preferences and allows you to adapt to their needs accordingly.
It provides customers with the flexibility to choose from a wide range of products, and get services at their doorstep. Online businesses even provide different payment options so that the users can choose the most suitable one, be it COD or via e-wallet or card.
Cons Of Taking Your Business Online:
On the internet, it is often hard to find who is on the other side. While eCommerce is booming, most of the purchases are limited to trusted brands only. Thus, if you take your business online, it can be a difficult task to build reliability. With offline businesses, this is not a trouble as the customers can see what they are paying, and will buy if they find it worthy.
2. Security: Thousands of websites are attacked almost every day. Cyber threats have become a major challenge for online businesses. This brings both your business and client data to risk. However, with regular website maintenance & security services, you can reduce the chances of a security breach; still, it can never be 100% safe.
3. Poor Customer Service: Customer servicing can be challenging in online businesses as it does not allow direct, face-to-face interaction. Nonetheless, eCommerce giants like Amazon have earned a reputation for exceptional customer service by investing almost 100 times more than that in marketing efforts.
But for those customers who are pleased with a simple shake hand or guided purchasing through a sales representative do not prefer online shopping. Even if we consider Amazon for its premium customer services, it’s important to note that a majority of businesses neither have resources or capabilities to provide efficient service.
4. Marketplace Saturation: Offline businesses have to compete with maybe one or two stores in the area that deal with the same products. But the online marketplace is vast with sellers from all around the globe selling similar products. The extremely high level of saturation online is far more challenging and difficult to win for online firms than an offline business.
We live in a world that allows us to reach out to global buyers to sell our products and services from the comfort of our sofa. Even if you have an offline set up why not make the most of the resources available at your disposal and take your business online. This way, you could cater to both kinds of audience, those who prefer online shopping & those who don’t. But before you go on, it is not wise to follow the trends blindly. You can create a business strategy to channelize your efforts and boost the chances of success. After all, you need to weigh all the factors before making any decision to ensure growth and sustainability.