21 Key Advantages of E-Commerce Over Traditional Retail
Why Should Traditional Retailers Embrace E-Commerce?
As shopping turns completely digital, consumer behavior is changing before our eyes. More and more consumers turn to e-commerce as a solution to get the items they need and want. As people are advised to stay home during the pandemic, online shopping is becoming more of a necessity than a convenience. And there are other advantages of e-commerce over traditional retail.
But the pandemic is only the latest and most transformative reason why e-commerce is booming. Because of technological advancements, the shopping trends among consumers have radically transformed over the past few years. As a result, the soaring popularity of online shopping has completely integrated into our daily lives. Purchasing a product online is simply more convenient than going to a physical store.
As per Statista, there has been a tremendous rise in the sales of e-commerce websites every year. With a whopping amount of $2.8 billion in the last year, retail e-commerce sales will reach $4.88 billion by 2021.
Want to start your e-commerce business but wait for the right time? There’s no ideal time to start an online store. Yes, you heard that right! Because it’s your unique vision that transforms your business to the next level.
What are the Advantages of E-Commerce over Traditional Retail?
By enabling the customer to make a particular purchase in just a few clicks, an e-commerce website is an effective and affordable option that empowers you to augment your business. Let’s dive deeper into the advantages of e-commerce websites over traditional retail.
When you read the following list of advantages of e-commerce for businesses and customers, you will understand that e-commerce is the holy grail of retail. But I want to caution you. Yes, there are many advantages of e-commerce over traditional retail, especially with the global pandemic‘s challenges.
But having an online store does not mean giving up your physical retail presence. Many of our clients successfully operate both.
21 Key Advantages of E-Commerce
1 – Low Overhead
One of the critical advantages of e-commerce is the relatively low overhead required to start an online store. The cost of rent, utilities, and employees makes retail space expensive. Lower operation costs make it possible for many e-commerce sellers to beat out brick-and-mortar prices.
Online retailers need less space — they can run an e-commerce site out of a garage and use dropshipping to avoid a warehouse full of inventory. As an online store grows, so will employee requirements. Still, the costs are lower, and adjusting is more manageable without a commercial lease.
2 – Online Stores are Always Open
Modern consumers are getting ever more demanding, especially when it comes to convenience. The limitations of regular retail store hours are a significant inconvenience for many shoppers. One of the advantages of e-commerce over traditional retail is that an online store never closes.
Whether it’s a holiday, a blizzard, or some other event keeping people home, they can place an order around the clock, from anywhere. For those who work non-traditional hours and would rather stay home, shopping online is a convenient alternative.
3 – Location Independent
A physical store limits you by the geographical area that you can service. Another of the advantages of e-commerce is that their location no longer restricts retailers. An online store has the potential to reach customers worldwide. This added potential is significant for specialized businesses that may not have a big, local audience but have eager customers scattered across the globe.
And there is another reason why this is important. The proliferation of mobile devices gives people the power to purchase on the go, right in the palm of their hand. There’s never been a time when the impulse to buy has been easier to indulge.
4 – Lower Staffing Requirements
You will need fewer employees in an online business than in a retail location. That makes it one of the advantages of running an e-commerce business. Another benefit is you don’t need to hire employees at launch. You can start and run an e-commerce business all by yourself. Only when you begin to grow or when you have the capital should you begin to build a team.
5 – No Travel Time and Costs
Having to travel long distances to reach their preferred physical store can be a deterrent for many consumers. One of the advantages of e-commerce is visiting the same store virtually, with just a few mouse clicks. This ability makes online shopping more cost and time-efficient, which means consumers have extra funds to spend.
6 – More Scalability
Another of the advantages of e-commerce is scalability. Expanding or decreasing your e-commerce business is easy, especially if you use drop shipping to eliminate the need for a lot of space. Adding items or narrowing your store down to the top sellers is a simple process. Expanding or downsizing is more complicated when you have retail space.
7 – Process More Orders
What happens if your business experiences a sudden increase in popularity? Maybe you were featured on the news or mentioned on social media. Great news, if your retail store can handle the crowds, which is even more challenging with social distancing limitations. Another advantage of e-commerce over traditional retail is that an online store can take hundreds, and even thousands, of orders a day. Exceptionally few offline stores can deal with that kind of volume.
8 – Build Trust Through Content
Simple, useful content will help you reach potential customers. Tutorials and product demos, blogs, and other digital media provide your audience value and position your brand as an authority in your industry. When people see that you know what you’re talking about, they’ll trust your product descriptions and feel confident purchasing from you.
There are limitations to the amount of information that you can display in a physical store. It isn’t easy to equip employees to respond to customers who require information across product lines. Another of the advantages of e-commerce websites is making additional information readily available to customers. Even better, vendors provide most of this information, and it does not cost you anything to create or maintain.
9 – Product Reviews
One of the significant advantages of e-commerce over offline retail is that the former provides you with customer and product reviews. Reviews are an essential factor as far as brand credibility and customer satisfaction is concerned.
When people visit an offline store, they can only assume that the product matches their expectations. They have concerns regarding product quality, which is genuine from a buyer’s point of view. In the case of e-commerce, prospects can read customer reviews and know about the quality from past customers’ experiences. Product reviews have a crucial role in influencing the prospect’s buying decision.
And the customer feedback also helps you as a seller find out the flaws in your product so that you can rectify them later.
10 – Promoting Featured Products
Making changes to a website is far simpler than rearranging a physical space. A customer’s path is harder to control in offline retail than it is online. Promotions and specials can be front and center when customers hit your landing page.
11 – Customized User Experience
Data about a customer’s past purchases and online activity offer insight into their interests, which can deliver a personalized experience. Sharing products targeted to a shopper’s tastes is a way to appeal to customers with a deeper level of familiarity.
12 – Instantaneous Purchasing
One of the advantages of e-commerce is optimal convenience. Shopping offline requires walking around, finding what you’re looking for, locating a sales associate willing to help you, making your way to the checkout, and standing in line. All of that you can skip online.
13 – Easier to Locate Specific Products
It is no longer about pushing a shopping cart to the correct aisle or scouting for the desired product. On an e-commerce website, customers can click through intuitive navigation or use a search box to narrow down their product search immediately. Some websites remember customer preferences and shopping lists to facilitate repeat purchases.
14 – Comparison shopping
E-commerce facilitates comparison shopping. Many online services allow customers to browse multiple e-commerce merchants and find the best prices.
15 – Shopping Incentives
Of course, there are physical equivalents to deals, bargains, coupons, and even group buying. But one of the advantages of e-commerce is the greater convenience. For instance, if a customer has multiple discount coupons from different stores, it may be impossible to redeem them all. But the customer could do that online with a few mouse-clicks.
16 – Market Niche Products
Are you focusing your products on a niche audience? Buyers and sellers of niche products can find it difficult to connect in the physical world. Online, it is only a matter of the customer searching for the product in a search engine. One example could be the purchase of obsolete parts. Instead of trashing older equipment for lack of spares, today, we can locate parts online with great ease.
17 – Increased Search Engine Visibility
Traditional retail relies on branding, word-of-mouth, and building relationships to increase sales. One of the advantages of e-commerce over traditional retail is that online retail benefits from search engine traffic. It is not unusual for customers to follow a link in search engine results and land on an e-commerce website that they have not considered or known before. This additional source of traffic can be the tipping point for some e-commerce businesses.
18 – Collect Customer Information
How many of us automatically say “no” when a cashier asks for our email address at checkout? And how many of us automatically enter this same personal information and more online? I know I’m guilty.
Newsletter signups and other forms that gather information are vital to building a contact list. And they are much more efficient than a clipboard and pen on a countertop or having employees ask.
19 – Tracking Consumer Data
Data from resources like Google Adwords and site analytics can tell you how someone found you. Unlike traditional advertising, where ROI can sometimes be murky, data gleaned from analytics provides you with insight into where people came from and what they intend to purchase.
20 – Retargeting and Remarketing
Remarketing uses the information from someone’s past purchases and site interactions to send emails about sales and promotions for related products. Remarketing is a more laser-focused marketing tactic that requires a customer’s email address.
21 – Targeted Communication
Using the information that a customer provides in the registration form and placing cookies on the customer’s computer, an e-commerce merchant can access a lot of information about its customers. It, in turn, can be used to communicate relevant messages. When searching for a particular product on Amazon.com, you will automatically see listings of other similar products.
Final Thoughts on the Advantages of E-Commerce
Will your business benefit from the advantages of e-commerce over offline retail? The answer, in most cases, is a resounding yes! Especially with the challenges of keeping their business afloat during lockdowns and restrictions, most traditional retailers will benefit from online sales.
I hope this write-up on the advantages of e-commerce over traditional retail provides you with more than enough reasons to consider taking your business online. It is not that the conventional retail industry has lost its charm. But having an e-commerce website is like a cherry on the cake. You can expand your business and reach new heights.
Most of the traditional retail businesses, be it on a small scale or large, are trying to set up their online presence. And it is high time you have your e-commerce website too. We are here to help!
Need Help Taking Advantage of E-Commerce?
Of course, we would be happy to build and launch your online store. We are experts at carefully crafting custom mobile-first websites and online stores to meet (almost) any budget.
Here at PixoLabo, we offer a full range of e-commerce website consulting and design services for small businesses, including custom web design and development, e-commerce solutions, search engine optimization, and WordPress optimization.
If you are not sure how to benefit from the advantages of e-commerce, don’t worry! Reach out and contact us. Our expert team will listen to you, answer your questions, and determine the best way for you to add an online store for your retail business. That is one of our specialties, after all!
Are You Taking Advantage of Selling Online?
We would love to hear your feedback regarding the advantages of e-commerce over traditional retail. Are you operating a retail store? If so, are you planning to start selling online? Are there specific reasons that prevent you from taking advantage of the opportunities presented by an online store?
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Thank you! We appreciate your help to end bad business websites, one pixel at a time!
By Gregor Saita
Co-Founder / CXO