Advantages and disadvantages of e-commerce
E-commerce passed the 100 billion turnover mark in 2019 to stand at exactly 103.4 billion according to FEVAD. With a market up by 11.6% compared to 2018, e-commerce is taking more and more place in the consumption habits of French people as well as in the rest of the world. And it is hard to imagine how this trend could be reversed.
If you own a brick-and-mortar store or sell in marketplaces and haven’t yet taken the plunge, it may be time for you to consider opening your online store to take advantage of this bargain.
One of the main advantages of e-commerce is the low investment required to get started and to operate the site thereafter. The figures are incomparable with those of a permanent store which requires investing in the purchase or rental of premises, the sign, the layout and decoration of the store, etc.
With e-commerce, all you have to do is choose one of the many platforms available and start setting up your store yourself. You then only have to pay the price of a domain name and hosting plus a theme for the general appearance. All for an introductory price of around 100 euros and then around 50 to 60 euros per year for domain renewal and hosting.
If you have no experience with websites, however, I recommend that you hire the services of a web agency to make your online store look more professional and attractive. It’s a little more expensive at first but the investment will be quickly amortized by the additional sales you will make compared to a store with an “amateur” look.
A larger market
An online store allows you to reach customers all over France and the rest of the world. With a site only in French, you have access to the Swiss, Belgian and Luxembourg market in addition to the whole of France.
To visit your site, all you need is a phone, tablet or computer and an internet connection. The number of people connected continues to grow, as does the average time each person spends surfing the web each day.
Of course, if your site has versions in English and/or in other languages, the whole world is literally at your fingertips.
An unlimited sales area
You are not limited by the surface you have available as is the case with a brick and mortar store. Even though logistics can become a hassle when you’re developing, it’s still much easier to manage. You have an unlimited number of shelves in your online store. So you can quickly adapt to a new market trend by simply creating more categories or subcategories for new items.
Grow your audience for free
With e-commerce, you can increase the number of visits to your store, and therefore the number of sales, without spending any money. To do this, you just need to maintain a blog on your site and add content to it regularly. In addition, you can use targeted advertising to optimize the conversion rates of these visits.
A physical store needs to constantly invest in advertising in order to increase the number of visitors.
Access to a lot of data about your visitors
Thanks to Google Analytics, you have access to a lot of data about your visitors. You thus have the possibility of knowing how they evolve on your site, by which means they discovered it, which pages are the most effective etc. This allows you to make the necessary modifications in order to optimize the performance of the site and to know which are your most effective strategies.
You also have the possibility of recontacting your customers in order to build a relationship of trust and retain them.
Of course, nothing prevents you from easily setting up an online survey to find out precisely what your visitors think on a particular subject related to your store or the products sold there.
Ability to respond quickly to market changes
Thanks to the ultra-flexible logistics offered by e-commerce, you can adapt very quickly to new trends or any other change in demand. This is even more true if you are drop shipping.
People who shop online are more likely to indulge in impulse buying. By using beautiful photos, colors chosen for the emotions they elicit, and a thoughtful message, you can create a product page that further encourages impulse buying.
Impulse purchase on online stores
To go further, you can display a countdown, or a limited number of coins available. This increases the sense of urgency and further encourages the purchase.
In the case of online stores that sell digital products (programs, digital books, etc.), the customer receives his item instantly. This immediate gratification strongly encourages impulse purchases. This is especially true for inexpensive items.
Ease of showing the best products
You can easily show visitors which products are selling best on your web store. It’s not easy to do in a physical store. The purpose of showing these products in particular is again to encourage the visitor to purchase.