We have said it before and we will say it again – eCommerce is not just a trend, but a necessity. But yes, it might not be for everyone. Some argue it depends on your business model and others argue that it depends on the technology available to you.
Say what you will, there are advantages and disadvantages to eCommerce that every small business owner needs to know. After all, it caters to over 2.1 billion people.
As per WPforms, there are over 20 million active eCommerce sites globally, and it is estimated that by 2040, 95% of all purchases will be through eCommerce platforms.
So should you opt for an eCommerce platform for your business?
Let’s find out, starting with the advantages of eCommerce.
Advantages of eCommerce in India
1. No barriers
Ever since businesses took a hit during the pandemic, online platforms came to the rescue with one BIG advantage – access to customers beyond borders. With an online store or website, customers can now shop from the comfort of their homes. Thanks to worldwide shipping services that offer minimum fees, customers can place orders via online stores and check to see if the brand delivers to their location.
2. Safe and secure
If you see the news, you can tell it’s a huge risk to set up a brick-and-mortar store right now. The cost of investment is huge and there is no guarantee when you will need to pull down the shutters again. It’s proven that setting up an online store is not difficult. With an online store, you reduce risks and save money on maintenance. Choose an eCommerce website that has a secure payment gateway and is encrypted to prevent hacking or spyware.
Start with social media
According to a study by Bigcommerce, online stores with a social media presence have an average of 32% more sales than those that don’t. If you are new to the online space, it is a good idea to start gathering clout on social media. Find out what social platform you could start on (we recommend Instagram) and set up your profile. This detailed guide will help you get started with selling on social media.
3. eCommerce is more affordable
The average store costs at least $1 million to set up. You need to hire storefront employees, pay for plumbing, electricity, maintenance, and more. However, with an online eCommerce website, you get to keep a team working remotely and manage the business without added expenses. You only pay the basic set-up/subscription fee and you can upload an unlimited number of products to your store.
Why Instamojo became an option for over 1 million businesses
The Instamojo premium online store pricing plan starts at the cost of a glass of chai! That’s right, you can set up an online store for free and upgrade to an affordable premium plan at your convenience. The premium store on Instamojo offers –
- Online payment solutions with over 100+ payment modes
- Unlimited product uploads
- 20+ themes to choose from
- Free in-built marketing tools
- Shipping with mojoXpress
- Faster payout options
4. Marketing is easier
Simply put, eCommerce offers you the power of enhanced digital marketing. From SEO to paid ads, a huge advantage to setting up an eCommerce platform is the varied options that marketing has in store for you.
And the result? More customers —> more sales—> business growth!
How to get started with marketing for free? Check out our detailed guide to explore a few FREE marketing tools you can use.
5. Find customers before they find you
When it comes to marketing for eCommerce, you find your customers before they find you. In a brick-and-mortar store, you rely heavily on customers passing by your brand sign outside the shop. But with eCommerce, it is like showcasing your online store to the world.
Retargeting your customers
eCommerce advantage 101 – you learn from your customers. You will learn how valuable your existing customers are, and you will always step out of your zone to communicate with them.
Retargeting literally means targeting over 98% of those customers who visited your website, looked around, and left without converting to come back and convert into becoming a sale. Retargeting strategies are only targeted at users who have previously visited your website but have not converted.
Do not know who your customers are? Send a random 100 people your online store url and see who responds. Cold emails involve reaching out via email to someone who is not aware of your brand or business.
When you send a cold email, you are inviting someone to check out your brand and digital products so they can become a customer. This also happens to be one of the biggest advantages of eCommerce businesses!
6. Metrics and goals
Earlier, a crowded offline store proved that your sales are doing good. But imagine your online store getting 3x the crowd and you keeping track of it with tools!
For example, you can get daily online visitors to figure from Google analytics or inbuilt store backend software. You can collect leads online with different tools and campaigns. Remember this, it is not only those who purchase from your eCommerce website that accounts for as customers.
We all know what window shopping is. In an offline store, someone can walk in, browse through the products, and leave. You will not know who it was and what led them to not buy at all. But with an online store, you have ABANDONED CART!
Imagine being able to reach out to a customer with their email and nudging them to complete their purchase. Only an eCommerce platform can allow you to do that.
7. Better customer experience
Do you know how it feels when you are browsing in an offline store and customers cannot find what they are looking for?
Fortunately, eCommerce websites have filters, categories, and search bars to help customers find what they are looking for. They can compare prices, product features, and make a decision without having to hassle a retail worker. Customers can also place a ’notification alert’ whenever an item is out of stock.
Over 80% of India’s online shopping takes place from a mobile device. Millennials have stated that they prefer shopping on their phones using eCommerce apps for a better experience.
Seamless checkout, guest login, and online payment options (including cash on delivery) are some of the main reasons customers prefer online shopping over visiting an offline store.
Disadvantages of eCommerce (and how it can be conquered)
1. Lack of personal touch
Even now, a huge portion of India’s population enjoys going to an offline store and talking to staff while shopping. They used to consider shopping as an experience and make a whole day of it. While eCommerce allows for a simple and easy browsing experience, it also does not allow customers to have complete assurance on the brand/product. They do not get a chance to speak with a brand representative while shopping.
However, with the help of AI, online shopping is on its way to becoming the fun, interactive experience Indians would crave on the weekends with family. Social eCommerce, Government marketplace trading, augmented virtual shopping, are some of the few big changes eCommerce will see in time.
2. Lack of trust in the quality
A lot of customers, especially those in India, prefer checking a product physically before buying it. Despite businesses adding all the information on the website, customers take a long time to build trust in a brand they are buying from. If the product is expensive, fragile, or far away from the shipping area, customers get nervous about buying online. This issue does not tend to happen in an offline store, where everything from choosing a product to shipping it can happen in a matter of hours.
Fortunately, another one of the advantages of eCommerce include meeting customer needs, and one of the top priority is quality. eCommerce encourages impulse buy, with different offers and discounts you would not find on an offline store. Some websites also offer next day shipping and delivery, along with a guaranteed warranty period inclusive of the product.
eCommerce trends – and what to expect in the future
According to an article by ET, the online retail market in India is expected to grow to $1.2 trillion by 2021. One of the biggest advantages of eCommerce is it constant adapting to technological advancements – and easing business for entrepreneurs.
- eCommerce in India will touch $84 billion in 2021 from $24 billion
- A Unicommerce report states that over 65% of brands want to set up their own independent website or online store
- A Q3 socialbakers report showed that global ad spend increased 56.4% Quarter over Quarter and about 76% of the total ad spend went to Instagram and Facebook main feeds.
- According to Businesswire, about 61% of shoppers prefer buying from retailers who offer AR over those who don’t. AR may unlock a large part of the market with its great benefits.
- M-commerce or mobile commerce is on the highest spike post COVID, with 3/4 online shoppers preferring it to other eCommerce platforms
For a detailed eCommerce report, refer here –