Over the past year, many customers have made the switch to shopping online. If you own a business or are thinking of acquiring one, you may feel compelled to get into e-commerce. 

E-Commerce can help business owners expand and reach new markets. I Like most decisions for a small business, there are some pros and cons to getting into e-commerce. Check out our breakdown below to figure out if getting into the digital space is the right move for you and your business. 

Why Get Into E-Commerce?

There are many customers still shopping in stores, but over the past few years, e-commerce has grown by over 300%. And by 2021, it’s expected to make up 17.5% of global retail sales. As the statistics continue to grow, you may wonder if you should add e-commerce to your business model. It’s fairly low-risk and simple to set up. Whether you are starting a new business from scratch or adding to an existing business, an e-commerce shop is a small investment that can grow over time.

Benefits of E-Commerce for Existing Businesses 

Adding e-commerce to an existing business is a one way to expand your market beyond your local area.  Bringing your business online means that you are “open for business” around the clock, every day of the year, with less extra cost than opening a new physical location. 

Promoting an online store to your existing customer base is simple and affordable. Expanding your advertising beyond your existing audience can often be simpler and less expensive with ecommerce stores. In the beginning, you can increase sales without the need for additional employees (and the expense that comes with them). The opportunity for growth is virtually limitless and it occurs while you work, while you play, and while you sleep. 

Setting Up Your Own E-Commerce Business 

Getting into e-commerce is a great way to build up a small business from the comfort of your own home. There are countless resources online that can help you every step along the way. Figure out what you are interested in and begin to set your store up from there. A good rule of thumb is to decide if you want to sell physical products like an online boutique or would rather sell services or digital goods. 

Creating your own e-commerce business is the same as starting any other business, except it lives online instead of being in a brick-and-mortar shop. You are going to want to do your research regarding your  industry, what products you want to sell, and how to market those to customers. Creating an e-commerce business is a great career for those that want to work remotely or have enough time for a side hustle. 

Drawbacks to E-Commerce 

For existing businesses, your clientele may be shopping at your local store. Depending on your location or industry, you may not need to open up an online shop in addition to your real-world location. 

Some services won’t translate well to the digital space either, such as restaurants or local services. You may be able to figure out ways to profit off of an e-store by supplementing your services with physical products your customers can buy. If your store has products that are better to try on or view in person, an online shop may not do them enough justice and irritate potential customers. 

When creating an e-commerce site, you also need to factor in the costs of setting up a professional website, as well as updating it to reflect item availability and new products as they come in. For some, this may be a breeze, while others will be too busy to update their shop as often as required. 

Setting up a successful e-commerce presence requires forethought and trial and error, but once you find a system that works for you, it’s a great way to bring in additional income and own a business of your own. If you’re looking for help to figure out your next business move, feel free to chat with one of our agents here at Alliant Capital Advisors.