Brick and mortar businesses have been the staple of commercial activity for as long as they have been around. You went to the store, you found what you wanted and then you were on your way back home.
Nowadays, with the advent of the internet, businesses have diversified and have put many of their activities online, going as far as becoming online retailers without an offline presence. In this chapter, you’ll learn how your business can benefit from having an online storefront!
What is a business?
A business is an organization or entity engaged in commercial activity, or in basically any activity geared towards making money.
This entity can be an individual conducting business on his or her own, which is often represented in the form of an owner-operated small business or a family restaurant, or it can be a larger company, like a retail store in a mall or an international conglomerate.
A decade or so ago, most businesses did their activities offline. From clothing stores to hardware stores, businesses needed to have a physical presence where customers could go to get their products and services.
They’re called offline businesses, because today, it is common for businesses to conduct their activities online, with most of them having only an online presence. As a matter of fact, many businesses are starting this way and sticking with it.
That is why there’s a clear distinction between online businesses and offline businesses today. An offline business is known as the kind of business that simply doesn’t offer its products or services online.
Attributes of an offline business include having a physical office or storefront, targeting of specific areas which are often limited to where the business owners are located, and having to rely on television, newspapers, magazines and billboards for advertising.
There is an increasingly popular notion that offline businesses are a thing of the past, and that a business thriving on its physical presence can be kicked out of existence at any time. With the rapid shifts in consumer behavior in recent years, it is unlikely to survive offline only.
In contrast, an online business is a business that focuses on conducting its activities through online means. It uses the internet to reach customers and to do its job. New businesses are often born online, and existing businesses are adopting online technology.
How can eCommerce help your Business?
eCommerce can help you and your business cut down on logistics expenses like storage, transportation, paperwork, and advertising. eCommerce will help you and your business reach a wider audience compared to having a store in a single location!
By having an online storefront that anyone can visit at any time during the year, 24 hours a day at any minute, you don’t run the risk of losing a sale because of not being able to have late night visitors!
Of course, your business can benefit from having an offline counterpart, but it will also depend on the kind of product or service you are delivering. Digital goods and music can be streamed or even sent to customers, so both you and your buyers can benefit.
Everything can be automated, from the checkout process to the notifications. You can even outsource shipping and handling of your products to third party companies that specialize in eCommerce!
The financial benefits that eCommerce can bring to businesses are very sweet. According to data gathered by rjmetrics.com, average gross profits for eCommerce sites in their first three months of their first year comes in around the $ 150,000 mark!
By its second year, this average went up to $ 330,000, and by its third year it reached a peak average of $ 1 million a month! Of course, this data applies to top companies in ascension, so what are the numbers for normal businesses starting out on eCommerce? What can you expect for your business?
Well, the average is $ 63,000 for their first three months, going up to $ 127,000 in monthly revenue during their first year in business. It peaked at $ 352,000 a month after three years in business! Which is an increase of 175% over the course of three years from the start!
Where can you start?
You have to start by planning what you are going to sell in the first place. Not only do you need to start planning about what you want to sell, but start thinking about an industry and the sort of products you are passionate about. If you are selling something that you love and enjoy, you’ll be more likely to enjoy managing your inventory and your eCommerce site.
You have to find out if that product will be made by you, if you are going to create designs for coffee mugs, or if you are going to find a wholesaler in order to access what you want to sell.
Next comes creating a unique identity for your business or brand. An example is Finch Goods Co, who has created an identity for its made in America accessories for men’s business that can be easily recognized and remembered.
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