The advantages of e-commerce are many, but the disadvantages are just as significant. Therefore, it is essential to know both so you can make an informed decision on whether or not it’s right for your business.
Setting up a brick-and-mortar store has huge investments and risks. With COIVD-19, having a physical location is always risky, and with frequent lockdowns, your business also suffers.
On the other hand, having an e-commerce site (also available on mobile) provides a safe and secure environment for your customers.
Also, the payment gateways via credit card or PayPal, or debit card offer online shoppers protection from hackers or spyware, which cash payments can’t guarantee.
Having a brick-and-mortar is limited within a 2 to 4 KMs radius of the store. However, an online store can be accessed by anyone who has an internet connection.
In addition, customers can purchase from your online store delivered to your doorsteps at minimum charges with national and international shipping services.
Having a brick-and-mortar store is expansive and has a substantial recurring maintenance cost. At the same time, the eCommerce site is affordable and has basic recurring set-up/subscription costs.
You can upload unlimited products, have different teams working remotely, and manage your store without any added expenses.
With an e-commerce store, you can promote through social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, etc. Also, with different marketing channels like email or SMS, SEO optimization on Google search results for targeted keywords that will bring potential customers to your site, etc.
With digital marketing, you can reach customers before they reach you. For example, in a brick-and-mortar business, you heavily depend on customers to look at your brand store while passing by.
However, with eCommerce, you can target customers at the right time by using different channels like email marketing, social media marketing, etc.
You can also reach out to new customers through retargeting and cold email.
The data from the eCommerce store helps you understand what your visitors are doing and where they’re in the customer journey.
For example, you can measure how many people viewed a product, added it to the cart, purchased it, came back for more, or left without buying anything.
The data collected helps you assess which products should be discontinued and which ones need improvement to boost sales.
With this much knowledge, you can reach back to your customer to complete the check-out process.
Comparing an online store with a physical store, e-commerce provides a better customer experience because of filters that help customers filter products based on their preferences.
For example, a customer can choose the color of their choice and order that product from your online store.
In addition, they can add products to the wishlist to be revisited when the price drops or again in stocks. Also, they get to collect loyalty points, etc.
The product descriptions added in the products on the e-commerce store are to provide complete knowledge of the product, manufacturing, quality, color, sizes, compatibility, etc.
It helps customers to make an informed decision before buying the product.
The advantages that eCommerce provides can also be disadvantages depending on the perspective you look at it from.
For example, unlike a brick-and-mortar business where your customers can purchase products anytime they want, e-commerce is only available when the customer has access to the internet.
The payment gateways like PayPal and credit cards charge a certain percentage as commission for providing their services for transactions done on your site.
In addition to this, the customer also ends up paying a certain percentage for each transaction.
You’ll need a good web developer and designer to create a unique online store. In addition, your website has to be user-friendly, responsive on different devices, and engaging for visitors.
However, eCommerce has many disadvantages – fewer sales potential (if you can’t be seen), lack of trust in the quality, and no personal touch.
A brick-and-mortar store is more trusted than an online store because customers can see for themselves the quality of a product. It also provides you with a more personal touch and face-to-face interaction which is vital in business.
An eCommerce store can be an asset to your company if it’s well planned, executed, and managed correctly daily to get maximum advantages from digital marketing.
However, if you don’t nurture your business with proper marketing and personalized experience, it is difficult for your online store to find the right audience to sell products.