In the modern world, running your business and making your sales through an online service or website is absolutely the norm. Online sales are outweighing physical retail sales these days, even though once upon a time that would have never seemed possible.
Because it is now an essential necessity (taking your business online and selling your products over the internet), you’ll be better equipped to find success if you know more about what you’re actually required to do. Pleasing customers, retaining them after their first initial purchase from your business and satisfying the consumer needs they have, are all parts of making a successful online service. Though, be aware that there are also numerous challenges awaiting you in the online world. We’re here to talk you through all of the benefits of selling goods online, as well as some of the challenges it may present you with.
The benefits of selling online
Here are the benefits to offering an online service, or selling products over the internet to customers.
Selling products online is always going to be a more convenient method for the customer themselves, than it is when visiting a physical store. They don’t have to actually leave their homes, as your shop will be on their laptop screen, or in the hands via a mobile phone; an eCommerce store can be visited from any device with an internet connection, at any time or place.
The customer will be able to browse through a wide range of products in an extremely quick fashion, with a great amount of ease. If they’re buying a gift for someone else, things are even easier still, as they can use a search engine such as Google, in order to find suggestions for what to buy someone, or access someone’s ‘wish list’ directly, which is a feature that online retailing giant, Amazon, offers to its users. Your website can easily offer these features too, which will undoubtedly make things easier and more convenient for your average customer.
Fast feedback from your customers
In an online space, you can get customer feedback easily and quickly, as they can give your service or product a rating via a single click of a button, or offer you a single sentence review which could potentially carve out the future of your company. Consumers of your business are far more likely to do this online than they ever were in-store, because it only takes a moment or two while they’re at their desktops, rather than having to go through a drawn out process in person of speaking to a manager, etc.
A reliable delivery service
Online shoppers no longer question the delivery services of new websites they come across, we’re all used to shopping via the internet by now, it truly is the new normal, so if you’re new to the world of online business, that’s one less thing you’ll have to worry about. It’s true, we all seem to collectively accept and expect to get a solid distribution of the products we choose to buy online; there really aren’t that many businesses getting it wrong anymore. Perhaps if customers were shopping on Ebay and other similar online listing auction websites, we might be a little warier, but for fully formed businesses, we rest assured that our product will be delivered securely and quickly.
We won’t lie to you, it isn’t all easy going in the world of online business and you can certainly bump into the odd challenge along the way. We’ll talk you through a couple of the potential issues you may be faced with, now.
One big problem many businesses have with entering the world of eCommerce and online shopping in general, is that it is so easy for customers to fin a product on their website, and then proceed to have a quick search on Google and find the same thing listed a thousand times or more, at a more competitive price point. This will no doubt drag some of your custom away from you and feed it into other businesses if you aren’t listing products at a fair price, that’s accessible for your targeted audience.
People shopping online, be it for products or services, have an endless amount of options at their finger tips, so you’ll need to be making sure you’re giving those customers a reason to shop with you. Your company could offer the product at the cheapest price, or it may even offer some great incentives to keep the average customer satisfied, it really is up to you to decide and figure it all out.
Changing customer behaviour
The behaviour of customers on the internet is something that is constantly in a state of transition, making it extremely difficult and tedious to keep up with as a business owner. One day you may think that you’ve finally cracked the case and you’re offering your customers exactly what they want, at the price they are happy with, but then something else could come along elsewhere that changes this winning formula completely, rendering it out-of-date and inherently useless.
The internet is an ever-changing marketplace for online sellers and customers alike, with no real way of predicting how things are going to look from one moment to the next. Be prepared to totally change the direction you were expecting to take your business in, as you’ll need to constantly be on your toes if you’re hoping to make a serious splash in the online world.
Some customers, particularly those of a slightly older generation, will often question the security of your website, especially if it is new to them. This means that starting out as a new business online could potentially have its difficulties in the sense that you’ll need to provide customers with some proof that you are safe and legitimate to shop with; this could prove to be very tough, as some people still don’t even trust online banking after all these years.
Make sure your site is secure and trustworthy, the best ay to do this is to seek out customer reviews and display them across your website and respective social media pages. The words of fellow customers and consumers will be much more important to potential clients, than your own words will be. Wear your positive reviews as a badge of honour and work to make every customer transaction go as smoothly as it possibly can.
Best products and services to sell online
The simple fact is that most businesses need to have an online presence in this day and age, because without it success is extremely difficult to find, in terms of both sales and overall growth. You’ll come across as a much more trustable brand if you have a strong online counterpart to your business, though it is worth noting that many businesses are completely online these days and see no need for a physical shop or store at all. If you can make a healthy profit from being online-only, why would you bother paying some landlord the rent for a retail store premises?
By having you company active in an online environment you also allow the chance of fast customer feedback and convenient communication between your business and its consumers, which will in turn make shopping with you a far more pleasant experience when compared to a competitor that doesn’t offer the same things. You will undoubtedly be viewed as a more trustworthy business venture if you have a regularly updated, working website. Be the business that is easy to use and stress free, because active online users attention spans are decreasing all the time, and with more and more competition you can’t afford to lose out on possible sales.
However, not everything is completely plain sailing when it comes to running an online business or focusing all of your business management efforts into the website of your company. By being an online-based business, you’ll face heavy competition from competitors all around the world, not just on the same high street as your physical store might. Also, the online world is ever-changing and with it, so are the customers and consumers. You’ll need to keep up with these changes on a permanent basis if you’re to build up an audience and then proceed to hold onto it as you grow as a business.
All in all, you should sell and distribute products and services online in 2020 and beyond this year, but you need to be making sure you’re going about it the right way. Act professionally, get the right security measures implemented into your webpages, always be on the lookout for new updates that could grow your custom further, and be considerate of your customers and consumers at all possible times. If you are viewed as an easy to use and convenient business, your customer base will enjoy the experience of shopping will you and therefore, ultimately be more inclined to carry on doing so.
- Customer convenience, shopping made easy
- Fast feedback from customers that you can display on your website
- Reliable delivery and distribution services on offer to shoppers
- Heavy competition in terms of product pricing
- Customer behaviour constantly changing
- Levels of security aren’t always easy to trust online