Ecommerce has been booming for the better part of a decade, but online sales have exploded thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. More people feel safe spending their money online, and businesses that have resisted eCommerce in the past are now making the transition.
Selling products and services on the internet has taken on a new urgency for some businesses. Many that have delayed using eCommerce now find that they don’t have a choice if they wish to survive. But those that embrace this different way of connecting with customers are enjoying great success.
How Does Ecommerce Work?
Ecommerce involves selling your company’s goods and services online. Consumers purchase with electronic payment methods, and you deliver what they’ve purchased. This is similar to a physical transaction, but everything with Ecommerce on the customer’s end takes place digitally. As the provider, you may have to pull products off a shelf and ship them to the consumer.
Ecommerce has been around for decades, but its use has become so commonplace in the past few years that most businesses now embrace it. In the first half of 2020, Ecommerce spending reached $347.26 billion, a 30% increase from the prior year.
Pros and Cons of Operating an Ecommerce Business
If you’re on the fence about selling your products or services online, you’ll probably want to consider the pros and cons of eCommerce.
The pros of running an online business include:
- Fewer overhead costs than a physical storefront.
- Ability to operate 24/7 without around the clock staff.
- Simple online tracking of sales and shipments.
- Easy to reach more customers.
- Ability to scale your operations quicker.
- Safer to continue operations during a pandemic or other emergency.
But everything has its downside. A few of the cons of operating an online business include:
- Credit card and data fraud are a possibility.
- You still won’t reach everyone.
- Ecommerce is competitive.
- There are costs involved in setting up and maintaining an online store.
- Customers demand fast and free shipping.
Ways Your Business Can Leverage Ecommerce
Most businesses choose to offer at least some of their products and services online. Even if you keep a physical location, you can reach the most consumers by giving them options.
You have a few options if you want to begin selling online. You can set up your own online store or join an existing marketplace like Amazon, eBay, or Etsy. The best choice will depend on who your customers are and what makes the most sense for your business.
If you have the resources to dedicate to an online store, including the search engine optimization (SEO) efforts to make sure it outranks your competitors, this is an excellent long-term strategy. But, if you’re just starting out or have limited resources, selling on an existing marketplace might make the most sense.
There’s a common misconception that online businesses don’t need commercial space. If you own and run an eCommerce business, you might need office space for your support staff or warehouse space for your products.
Caldwell Commercial Real Estate is one of Charleston, SC’s top trusted partners in commercial real estate. We have over 80 years of combined experience helping clients with development services, property management, leasing & sales, and owner representation. Contact us today to learn more about our services.