There are some businesses that trade both online and offline.
Other businesses haven’t yet made the step to create an online presence.
There are a number of points to consider. This post will give you some of the advantages and disadvantages of doing business online.
Is it good to do business online?
Personally, I think it’s very good because there are many benefits of doing business online over just having a real offline business. When you have an online business, billions of people can easily connect to you or your site.
For example, whenever anyone wants to buy a product of any type he/she comes online to read reviews about that product.
The Internet allows you to discover the good or bad points of nearly anything. An online business can convert these people into your customers.
The Internet has become part of our everyday life.
Millions of people around the world are now connected to the Internet, it has radically altered the way we work, play, do business and interact with each other.
It has changed the way we think even the way we live. The influence of the internet continues to grow and every day more of us and our businesses recognize the need for communicating and doing business online.
Conducting business over the Internet is growing all the time.
Most of us today are pressed for time. Doing daily chores like banking, paying bills and shopping online has become second nature.
E-commerce is growing all the time and as you can see in the graph below, global online business-to-consumer (B2C) sales are expected to more than double between 2017 and 2021.
There are some other interesting facts. For example, a survey in 2017 of online shoppers in the US shows that:
- 20% purchased goods online every week
- 40% several times a month
- 15% once a month
- 23% several times a year
- 2% once a year
In 2017 online sales accounted for 9% of all retail sales in America and this figure is expected to reach nearly 14% by 2021. Which means there is still room for a huge increase in sales.
Having said that, there are of course certain things that it isn’t possible to buy online like gasoline, beer in a bar or meals in a restaurant. But for other items like clothing, electrical goods or DIY products there is massive scope for increases in sales.
It is estimated there will be 1.92 billion global online shoppers in 2019. This is about 25% of the world’s population.
Nearly half of American small businesses don’t have a website. With many tools making it very easy to set up a website they really should take advantage of this opportunity.
The Internet has completely changed the way we communicate.
The massive growth and use of the Internet have profoundly changed many aspects of the way we communicate with each other. Our geographical position no longer has any significance on our ability to converse with one another. We can communicate with a person on the other side of the world as easily as we can talk to our neighbors.
Businesses can transfer data via the internet no need to wait for the postal services. Workers can now work from their homes on their computers and rest connected with the office. In the search to save on costs, companies can outsource work, which means hiring someone from outside the company even in different countries. This could be for doing tasks like data entry or telephone customer service.
What are the advantages of doing business online?
It’s not expensive to start an online business
If you start an offline business, then you need to invest, normally, a lot of money, but when starting an online business you do not need to make a big investment. It is possible to even start your online business with absolutely no investment at all! All you need are, hosting and a domain name, you can get these things for free here.
So, you can start your own online business without spending a single penny. This means that you can have success without dealing with all the financial hurdles and risks that are often associated with running a business the traditional offline route.
Marketing is also free
This is another important benefit of doing business online. For an offline business, you may have to pay a lot of money in order to promote your product, placing adverts in the press, etc.
You can promote your online business without any cost, with good search engine optimization. Businesses can quickly be found, in the search engines, by customers searching for their products and services.
You can also use social media websites (facebook, twitter) and other websites in your niche to promote your products for free.
You can sell while you sleep
This is perhaps the biggest advantage of doing business online, your website is not only available 24 hours per day, but also available to everyone 365 days a year. When doing business online, there are no time restraints. A website never closes, you will be getting online orders even when you are sleeping.
There are no borders to online business
Selling online allows your business to reach a wider audience. Any person with an internet connection can access to your website. The globe is your limit.
Online business is also environment-friendly
You can also prove yourself a nature lover by doing online business. Working online from your own home means less petrol usage and less paperwork (better for the environment). This is another benefit of doing business online.
It’s easy to track what works and what doesn’t
Unlike traditional publicity campaigns, you can get very accurate reports to see how customers found you and what pages they look at on your website. You can also collect contact information that helps you target new business.
It’s cheap and easy to keep in touch with customers
You can use newsletters and email marketing to communicate with your existing customers and potential new customers who have given you their email address. This is cheaper than traditional advertising mediums and also, as they know your name your message will be noticed in their inbox.
On your site, you can provide additional forms of communication like live chat, forums or a question form. This leads to better customer service and also increased efficiency.
The social media channels, like Twitter and Facebook, also provide another way of keeping in contact with your clients.
Manage your business from anywhere in the world
You can access your business from any corner of the world, you’re not tied to your office location to manage your business.
Financial transactions are much easier and faster
Transferring money can be managed from any mobile device. Services like PayPal can transfer money to nearly anyone we choose in the world. Using different currencies isn’t a problem, these services can convert different currencies into the currency of your choice.
Automation – no need for staff
In a real-world retail business, you will need to recruit sales staff. Online most of the work is automized. For example, purchasing an item online doesn’t require a cashier but is automized. The buyer creates an account, enters his payment details and the transaction is completed in a few minutes.
We can see from the business’s point of view there are numerous advantages of doing business online but there are also a few disadvantages.
What are the disadvantages of doing business online?
You will need some knowledge of how to use a computer to set up a website
Today there are many online website builders that make it possible for nearly anyone to get started. There are also training programs that show you how to set up a website.
If this sounds like this might be a problem for you, you can find freelancers who will set up a website quite cheaply.
With the costs of setting up an internet business being so low, many people are trying to make some money online. This makes it harder for you to get your website to the top of the search engine rankings.
I say harder but this doesn’t mean impossible! You must be ready to put in some hard work and know the basics of search engine optimization.
No interaction with sales staff
Sales staff may advise customers on their choice of products and some customers will enjoy and rely on this advice. Obviously online there is not the same relationship between sales staff and customers.
Online, there are some forms of communication such as live chat and the reviews posted by other buyers are very useful.
Why do we shop online? Are there advantages or disadvantages for the consumer?
Here are just a few reasons why we are choosing to shop online instead of going out to shops:
- No crowds or waiting in queues
- You can search for online reviews to check out the product or service you are buying. Read the feedback from other buyers of the product that interests you. You can also check the reputation of the seller.
- Most of the big websites provide some sort of buyer protection.
- You save on the cost of petrol and parking charges
- You can search for the best deals. Comparing prices with different online vendors is easy. Additionally, products are sometimes cheaper online than in stores. Online websites have overheads that are much less than traditional brick and mortar businesses.
- Shop anytime, anywhere
- You save time – it’s easier and quicker to find a product online. You may go to a high street store to search for the product you want. If it’s out of stock you will have to visit other stores to find what you’re looking for. Very time-consuming! Online if one website doesn’t have what you’re looking for you simply go to another website. Quick and easy!
- You avoid those compulsive purchases
- You can buy secondhand goods or locate rare products and then purchase at often bargain prices
- You have an amazing variety of products
- The product you buy may not be of good quality. As you can’t physically touch the product you may be disappointed with the quality. Always read customer reviews before making a purchase.
- A delay in receiving your product. Buying online means you will have to wait to have the product shipped to you. If it’s something you need urgently you may have to buy offline.
- Problems and charges with shipping. Sometimes your product will arrive damaged or will be delayed. Shipping charges may make your product as expensive or more expensive than an offline store.
- More hassle and expenses to return an item. Returning an item can be time-consuming and another expense as you will have to arrange with a carrier or the post and pay the fees. There is often a limited time frame for returning goods.
- You could be scammed. There are many websites that are ready to profit from your imprudence. Only buy from trusted websites or check the reputation of any merchants you are not familiar with.
Although there are several possible disadvantages, if you do your due diligence you shouldn’t have any problems.
With so many reasons to begin selling online, when are you going to begin?
If you don’t know where to start, you could sign up for some internet marketing training that will teach you how to build an affiliate marketing business or e-commerce site. The training is step by step and very easy to follow even if you’re a complete beginner.
One of the great things about this training is that it’s free to sign up and have a look around to see if it’s a good fit for you.
Let me know if you have any questions or comments by leaving them below. I would love to hear from you!