E-commerce can be defined as the practice of doing business via the internet, as opposed to doing business through the more traditional brick and mortal stores. Today, with the advent of global online shops such as Amazon, Ebay, and Shein, online shopping has become all the rage, ushering in a golden era for businesses everywhere. It certainly looks easier to set up an online business than an actual, tangible store, but it is important to keep in mind that this new form of business comes with its own set of advantages and challenges. If you are planning to open a business that will be run online only, it is imperative that you weigh the pros and cons and decide whether this is a feasible method for you. In this article, we have tried to look at every aspect of this phenomenon.
Positive aspects of ecommerce
First of all, let us see how switching to an online platform will help your business grow.
Bigger customer base
The biggest advantage of having an online store of course is its wider range of appeal. When you have a brick and mortar store, you are limiting your customer base to the local group of residents. If your store is big enough and unique enough, and if you have been able to build a brand name for yourself, it is likely that you will have people coming in from various parts of the city you are located in. But there would be no way of reaching out to a greater audience without opening branches in other parts of the country, which is something your finances may not permit. Having an online store, on the other hand, is like opening branches all over the world without actually having to spend on them. A simple search in the browser is all that is required to reach your store from any part of the world.
E-commerce stores are not just beneficial for the business owner, but for the customer as well. Thanks to ecommerce websites, there is no population group today that does not have everything available to them a click away. The days of lining up in long queues at storefronts and at the checkout counter are long gone, and even remote areas can access most of the necessities and luxuries that are physically unavailable in their locality.
Ecommerce is the only business mode that will allow you to sell digital goods. Today, more and more people are opting for ebooks, and choosing to purchase movies and music in their digital formats instead of storing up on CDs and DVDs. Since there is no physical presence of such digital wares, it would be impossible to sell them through any brick and mortal store.
The decreased costing involved in opening an ecommerce store also allows the seller to offer more discounts and even more competitive in their pricing, making them even more lucrative to the customer. First of all, there is no cost involved in rent and maintenance of a storefront. You can eliminate the expense of employees who will have to manage the storefront and guide the consumers. Most importantly, it is always business hour in an ecommerce store.
Also Read: Positive and negative effects of Internet
Negative aspects of ecommerce
However, that does not mean that ecommerce websites don’t have their drawbacks.
Impersonal and ambiguous
Ecommerce is a fairly new phenomenon as far as business goes. As a result, many customers actually prefer the personal and hands on experience that a brick and mortar store offers to the rather impersonal approach of an online store. Besides, some products, such and clothes, shoes, beauty products, and packaged foods, carry some amount of ambiguity to them. It is difficult to assess the style and size of garments and shoes, and the expiry date and portions of makeup and food items in an online store, which is facilitated by a tangible storefront. There have been many instances of the wrong product being ordered and delivered due to incorrect product listing and description, and damaged or expired goods arriving.
Susceptible to cyber frauds
Since the ecommerce store is entirely online, there is a huge risk associated with it of cyber fraud. Phishing scams undertaken by individuals posing as online stores and service providers are pretty common, and it is also quite common to hear about identity thefts. This is because ecommerce websites collect data about you in order to market their products more effectively, and payments are often made online. A simple glitch in the system can make way for huge cyber attacks.
Ecommerce has seen a major boom in recent years. It is easy to understand why: it is comparatively cheaper for both the customer and the seller, and quite convenient for both parties too. It will probably be still sometime before risks are eliminated and trust is built up among the entire customer base, but for now, it appears as though ecommerce is here to stay.