Many Australian retailers have been reaping the benefits of taking their store online while other retailers have been slow to respond.
The perceived ease of setting up an online store has meant that the number of start up e-commerce stores have also increased.
So why are businesses & start ups being lured into the world of e-Commerce? What is the appeal of launching an online store? Should you really launch an e-commerce store?
- Impressive growth - retail spending via the internet grew 9% in the year ending December 2018 according to the NAB Retail Sales Index, 2018
- User penetration is 80.8% in 2019 and is expected to hit 89.2% by 2023 - according to Stastica
- Transaction automation means less human labor is required to process transactions
- Cheaper to take orders online than pay someone to take orders
- A customer service knowledge base can be built up over time thereby reducing the level of people required to service customers
- Ability to reach customers who live in remote locations and find it difficult to get to a physical store
- Overcome trading hour restrictions – customers they can shop in their pajamas, any time of the day or week.
- Showcase catalogues and product brochures rather than spend advertising funds on printing
- Ability to build and maintain customer relationships via electronic means
- Cut back on paper cost and staffing cost
- No need to pay rent like you do for a physical store
- No need to pay for store fixtures and fittings
While there is no doubt starting an online store holds appeal, it is not without challenges. Like brick & mortar stores, having e-commerce store means you still need to:
- Clearly emphasize all the things that set you apart from the competition.
- Drive targeted traffic to your store
- Ensure there is a viable market and that people are prepared to pay for what your store has to offer
- Get people to buy your products and services
- Have a sales forecast
- Keep an eye on stock levels
- Order inventory
- Clear slow moving stock profitably
- Manage store inventory
- Keep track of your sales & profit
- Have a marketing campaign aimed at building customer loyalty
- Make sure that your marketing efforts are working
- Overcome price comparison
- Ensure you don't overspend on advertising
- Keep an eye on the competition
- Maintain on a daily basis by keeping your store clean & attractive
As you can see having any sort of store is not for the faint-hearted. There is a lot of work involved and one person will not be able to do everything that needs to be done.
Remember, an online store does not have the advantage of visibility like a physical store located on a busy road does. Increased competition and growth in this space means you are no longer able to take a "build it and they will come" approach.
The critical thing with an online store is to have a solid marketing plan and strategy in place. Instead of paying rent, consider that you need to allocate money towards marketing your store.
If you don't have the time to manage the marketing of your store, why not check out our e-commerce series or outsource your marketing to a professional digital marketing agency like the team here at Swoop Digital (yes us).