In today’s world of commerce basically anything and everything can be sold over the Internet. While some types of businesses’ call for a regular brick & mortar store to be successful, one should never dismiss the option of selling online, either in addition to a physical store or as a main source for sales.
It is important to analyze your business (or business plan) to see if selling online could work for you because you may find the benefits of selling online greatly outweigh the alternative.
So what are the benefits of opening an online store verses a physical store?
1. Lower start-up costs
The difference in cost can come down to thousands and thousands of dollars. Rent, utility expenses, property tax, and insurance alone can add up fast. On top of these expenses, typically a physical store owner will have to hire many more employees that that of an e-commerce store owner. With an e-commerce store the start-up cost is only a fraction of the expense.
Costs an e-commerce store owner should anticipate include; professional development of the website, a domain name and hosting for the website, purchase of an SSL Certificate, and a monthly fee from a payment gateway of choice. In the end, a typical small business owner can expect to pay start up costs anywhere between $3,000 and $7,000 with a low monthly fee when all is said and done; a small investmen when compared to cost of opening and running a physical store.
2. Changes can be made on the fly
Another added benefit of an e-commerce store compared with a physical store is the ease in which changes can be made. Take for example changing the price of a product; with an e-commerce store prices can be changed in the back end by simply changing the products’ price field. In a physical store you may very well have to change the price tag on each individual product, the price on the shelf and even your inventory system.
3. Potential customer reach
Now, for one of the most important advantages; the number of potential customers you can reach. Having only a physical store decreases your number of potential customers immensely. Over 1 billion people worldwide are using the Internet today, meaning with an online store you conceivably have 1 billion people with access to your store. Compare this number with the population of a city such as Miami, FL – population estimate around 400,000. With a store located in Miami your potential population reach will not rise far above this number.
4. Measured results with online marketing
So, how do you become visible to customers from around the Country and even the World? Answer: Online marketing and Search Engine Optimization. This form of marketing is the way of today, and guess what… It Works. Business owners are finding they can reach more and more qualified customers over the Internet compared to traditional offline marketing by targeting specific demographics. With online marketing results can be measured and changes can be made based on your results. Your marketing campaign can always be improving and changing at a much lower cost then what is would take to change a traditional marketing campaign.
There is no doubt that selling online can bring many added benefits to certain businesses’. It is the responsibility of the business owner to inform their selves, assess the situation, make a decision and take the necessary steps towards reaching their ultimate goals.
About NetOne Systems: NetOne Systems is a Web agency providing a variety of online services including e-commerce store design and online marketing. Located out of Fort Lauderdale, FL NetOne Systems helps a number of small South Florida businesses’ sell online. If you are interested in finding out more how selling online can work for you please call (954) 491-6381 to speak with a representative.