Why open an e-commerce business?
The development of internet has changed the manner in which businesses can address their customers. Today, the e-commerce sector is seen as a solid industry, and more and more people purchase goods and services through online platforms, as they have gained trust in the reliability of the services delivered by e-commerce companies.
Since the consumer confidence is rising, companies that sell goods and services are advised to start their operations in the online sector as well, as numerous advantages can derive from this activity. For example, one of the main advantages refers to the larger consumer market the company can reach, as the online store is not bound by any geographical boundaries.
Working hours of an online store
An online store can be accessed from anywhere in the world, at any time, and the financial transactions can be completed by the customers outside the company’s working hours, as the website will be able to receive orders at any given hour.
An e-commerce business can be opened 24 hours a day, 7 days per week and it can sell products or services across the entire year, this being one of the most important aspects, as it can maximize the company’s profits. During the company’s working hours, the employees may be online to provide assistance of any type of inquiry sent by the clients, if the website provides this option.
However, a company operating in the online environment will need to respect a set of commercial regulations, just like in the case of traditional businesses, with specific requirements applicable to the activity of the online store. For example, in Ireland, e-commerce businesses need to comply with the e-Commerce Bill, which establishes the registration procedure of a domain name designed for e-commerce operations, as well as the legal framework for the usage of electronic signatures.
Online store – lower costs
A traditional store (brick-and-mortar) has higher operational costs compared to an online store. Specific costs related to the rent and design of a physical location do not apply to the online store and the company can also reduce its costs with the employees, as conducting a business in the online environment will require fewer personnel.
Furthermore, the company can decrease its operational costs by conducting marketing and advertising campaigns through the online tools – social media, search engine traffic or pay-per-click being just some of the options available for this type of activity.
Offer better information regarding the company’s products/services
Another advantage that should be taken into consideration by those interested in setting up an e-commerce platform refers to the amount of information the clients can receive on the products or services sold through the respective website. Although the company’s employees are trained to provide in-depth information on any product or service, due to a wide volume of such products, the learning capacity is somehow limited. An e-commerce platform can offer the opportunity of uploading the company’s products and services with extensive presentations on the characteristics of such goods, the manner in which they can be used, warranty matters and numerous others, depeding on the specific operations of the company. For example, in Hong Kong some of the most relevant e-commerce activities are observed in the field of clothing, luxury items or interior design products and in each case, the businessmen should provide specific information that is necessary for a possible client.
Better analysis of the company’s customers
In the case of a brick and mortar shop, the company will generally know little information on the characteristics of their customers. In an online store, the company can better communicate with their customers, as the online purchase will generally require the clients to create an account on the company’s website, by providing specific personal data (such as name, e-mail address, phone number), regardless if the customer is from Switzerland, USA, Australia, or the country in which the business is currently operating.
Also, the company’s representatives can see up-to-date information on the products the customers are most interested in, the products that registered the highest level of sales and other statistical data can be of use in order to increase the value of the e-commerce business.
Another advantage available in this case is that the company can easily start its operations by purchasing a domain name, designing a website and providing payment gateways that can accept debit or credit cards from international clients.