E-Commerce - An Alternative to Brick-And-Mortar
By: Robert Spence
First gaining traction in the mid to late 1990’s, e-commerce has dramatically changed the landscape for retail shopping. The internet has given consumers the ability and convenience to order anything their heart desires while never having to leave their house. The wild popularity of the internet has also given entrepreneurs and the average Joe the ability to start their own business without going through the traditional steps of having a physical location.
We break down three reasons potential business owners should choose starting their business asan e-commerce over the traditional brick-and-mortar storefront.
Bing! This is one of the main reasons people choose to go with an e-commerce. When opening a physical store businesses need to have capital for things like rent, utilities, building decorations, and employees—and these things don’t come cheap. Not to mention that isn’t counting any inventory or advertising costs that go into running a business.
One of the biggest perks of starting an e-commerce store is the fact it’s inexpensive. Besides inventory, getting started only requires a domain name, a hosting account and some free time. Not to mention there are a number of easy-to-employ e-commerce platforms that will do all the heavy lifting for you.
Your customers are already online
According to Internet World States, roughly 78.1 percent of the total U.S. population or approximately 245.2 million Americans are active internet users.
In 2012 Google conducted a survey of potential holiday shoppers. The survey indicated that 44 percent of the shoppers intended to make an online purchase and some 51 percent would look online before making a purchase at a brick-and-mortar store. Clearly the internet is the engine driving retail.
Given this information, your customers are already online and looking for things to buy. E-commerce owners don’t necessarily need to build demand but rather access a large and interested market that already exists.
One of the biggest benefits of using an e-commerce is the mass exposure you’ll gain. Unlike a brick-and-mortar business where your storefront’s location is critical the internet allows for your store to be seen by millions of people all over the world. It gives business owners the opportunity to reach a market far beyond what your physical store could ever achieve.
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It’s a stepping stone into mobile commerce
If you haven’t already heard, mobile commerce is a thing. M-commerce is essentially the act of browsing and purchasing products from your mobile phone rather than a desktop.
E-commerce aided by mobile is growing at 4x the rate of traditional retail and now accounts for one out of every ten retail dollars. As a percentage of total online sales, mobile represents a relatively small percentage of transactions. However, the continued growth and adoption of the mobile internet could represent a huge opportunity for small businesses.
According to a recent report, by the end of 2013 there will be more mobile devices on Earth than people.
If this is true, establishing an e-commerce business now allows you to hit the ground running when the massive growth of m-commerce hits.
Overall, the cost of establishing and maintaining a brick-and-mortar store just isn’t worth it anymore—At least not now in the age of the internet. As e-commerce sales for retail goods continue to grow faster than offline sales for brick-and-mortar stores, the time is now to start your own business by creating an e-commerce store today!