Online shops, or as they are sometimes called, Online stores or Web-shops are independent businesses for themselves although they can also exist next to a physical brick and mortar business enhancing overall business results. Online shops can bring in a considerable part of your sales becoming your main or significant channel. On the other hand, Online shops can enable you grow your business without necessarily increasing your cost base proportionally.
Imagine this. If you have a shop, you can grow your business in that single shop using different strategies. But there is a level of sales beyond which you need to spend a lot of time and money to grow your sales and customer base. What can you do next? You may start to wonder why I do not open a second shop on the other side of the city? The point is, by running an online business, you may be able to serve the customers of the other side of the city, just through your online shop and not necessarily by investing an enormous amount of money and time in creating a parallel operation next to what you already have. You may still want to open that second branch for whatever reason. But that will then be your choice, after proper considerations of all your options, online and offline.
For example, a barbershop may well need to think of a second branch in this scenario, as your potential customers may not want to commute all the way to the other end of the city to have a haircut by you. At the same time, an architecture or law firm may well benefit from investing a fraction of the investment for a second office into a web presence solution enabling them to bring customers from across the town to their office or serve them remotely through their online business.
Online Businesses have also other benefits. We are in times in which a lot of stores are closing down forever. Closing stores are not the phenomenon of the recent months. What is different though is the sheer increase in businesses finding continuation of their operation impossible after the covid-19 crisis. You may yourself own such a business in need of thinking about its future or know someone who is in this situation. The impact of the crisis is much closer than we may imagine.
While experiencing these tough times, you also see incredibly significant growth on the eCommerce globally. Over the last few years, eCommerce has been growing between 10 to 16% year on year according to different researches, and this trend is going to just increase to a number which is more than 20% towards 2023. And these forecasts are all done before the 2020 global crisis. According to the latest researches, even in the most conservative forecasts, global eCommerce is going to take a much more significant share in the economy than before this crisis.
One more thing that you can expect happening is the following. More people are forced to find products and services they used to get from a physical business, online. They buy more online, they learn more online, they get advices online and more. Part of these people who were less comfortable to interact with an online business, will continue doing so even beyond this period of crisis.
In addition, there are entrepreneurs who have started serving their customers and customers of others through a form of online business. This will result in even more people get into the online world either as a business owner, an employee or simply as a customer. The result is a society with more affinity and appreciation of the world of online shops. Hence, online shops are going to simply grow! Grow in numbers, in their customers base and their sales and in their employees and other stakeholders.
Now, being an existing enterprise looking into your strategy for next one to five years, or perhaps a small-to-medium business thinking about your next move in these volatile times, or maybe being a solo-entrepreneur evaluating different business ideas and options, there is a key consideration you need to have. Is your target audience and potential customer going to spend money over coming years, more offline or online? Are your strategies and plans match the answer to the question above? Are you equipped with the right infrastructure and tools to be able to serve your customers in the way they expect from you?
The beauty of today’s technology is that it makes it possible to build an online shop in a matter of few hours or a few days. There are solutions enabling you to create a straightforward web-shop in a matter of few minutes and start selling your products or services. There are also more advanced web-shops built as part of your website enhancing its functionalities to be able to run a full-fledged web-shop with all the needed complications you may want.
The choice of what platform to rely on depends on your expectations and the size of your business. Even an enterprise grade web-shop can be built in a matter of days. There are businesses who did exactly that during the early days of corona crisis moving huge part of their business online, over a few days. Are you interested to learn more about the world of online shops and how you can build one for your existing or future business? If so, send me a message here on my website.
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Building an online business is a journey. But it does not need to be long and painful. Building an Online Business or Transforming an existing one Digitally, should not become a sophisticated paper exercise. Creating value for the customers and other stakeholders should remain as the aim of any business process including the Digital Transformation. This is more so for smaller businesses.
My book ‘Build An Online Business in 24 Hours’, aims to inspire and show a roadmap to bring your existing or future business online in a short period of time.
To learn more about some of the subjects on this page, and to find out a roadmap to build an online business in 24 hours, read my book.