When the pandemic caused many local businesses and shops to close their doors temporarily, many of them transitioned towards eCommerce or online selling. Small businesses started leveraging eCommerce primarily for stability and lasting growth, despite the shifting economic landscape. To begin in eCommerce, weigh the opportunities and risks of online shopping.
How to Leverage Ecommerce: Pros vs. Cons
Although eCommerce has helped millions of businesses succeed, it isn’t perfect. While considering the positives, it’s crucial to recognize why it may not work for your company.
The Pros of Using eCommerce
- Interacting with customers locally, nationally, and overseas is fast and simple.
- It takes less than $100 to start building a website or use an eCommerce platform.
- Cookies allow a business to track visitors, leading to more sales and return customers.
The Cons of Using eCommerce
- Customers must wait 3-5 days for local delivery and 5-12 days for international shipping.
- Many customers aren’t comfortable with handing over data for personalized shopping.
- Some businesses can’t shift to eCommerce, such as a service-based company.
Some businesses are able to make eCommerce work for them both locally and nationwide. For example, flower subscription company Bouqs can offer flower delivery in Miami from local sellers. This way, the buyer can receive same-day shipping for in-season blossoms.
ECommerce Platforms You’ll Need to Get Started
While most businesses have their own website dedicated to selling their goods, Etsy, Shopify, and Facebook Shops give small businesses another way to promote their products.
Etsy: For Handmade Goods and Vintage Products
The eCommerce giant Etsy provides a space for creators to post and sell their goods for a low price. Etsy mainly caters to creators who make their own products or sell vintage items, but virtually anything can be sold on their platform. This eCommerce platform allows its creators to view shop analytics, SEO features, and share opinions for multi-platform selling.
To sell on Etsy, it will cost you 20 cents to list an item and 3.5% of your translation fees.
Shopify: For Personalized Web Pages and Advanced Features
Many large businesses, like Hasbro, use Shopify as their primary way to sell products. Shopify offers small companies multiple ways to sell services or products, such as memberships, digital downloads, tickets, and more. You can personalize your page by changing the website’s layout, colors, fonts, and checkout process for a small fee, considering its multiple features.
You’ll pay $30 a month Shopify Basic, $80 for Standard, and $299 for Advanced.
Facebook Shops: Offers the Largest Customer Base
Active Facebook Business pages can use Facebook Shops to sell physical products. You must have a valid bank account to use this service, but companies that do sign on to Facebook Shops can promote their products on FB Marketplace and Instagram. You’re free to customize your online inventory, communicate with customers, and see insights in real-time.
Currently, FB Shops only charges businesses a processing fee for goods sold.
Start Building Your ECommerce Business With These Tips
If you’re convinced you want to build an eCommerce business, you’ll need to create a strategy that keeps sustainability in mind. The following tips can help get you started.
- Consider Multiple Promotional Channels: There are multiple ways you can promote yourself other than social media. Blogs, podcasts, and guest posts all increase visibility.
- Hire a Situational Analysis: To learn how your company can scale within the eCommerce sphere, you need to know where your business stands. A situational analyst can examine your financial status, calculate potential risks, and track your competitors.
- Focus on Conversion: Getting someone interested in your products completes step one, but you need to develop a strategy that converts these users into buyers.
- Set Goals: Pivoting your business online is a difficult task, but setting goals for yourself can help you grow in the long term. Whether you want to make more money or commit to lead generation, your goals need to be attainable and trackable to achieve success.
- Increase Demand Constantly: Establish programs that increase demand, like free shipping, subscriptions, and loyalty programs that keep customers interested.