There’s no denying that we are living in some interesting economic times. Depending on who you talk to, it’s either the best of times or the worst of times for business. Regardless of the economic climate however, one thing remains true: business owners need to constantly look at ways to maximize profits.
Businesses that bring a productto market rather than a service have an additional layer of thought to consider when looking at their books every month. Costs associated with running a physical location for selling a product, also known as a brick and mortar store, eat into profits every time rent or the power bill comes due. And, at some point, every brick and mortar store owner has asked themselves, “should I just go with a 100% e-commerce solution?”
It’s hard not to consider it. Some of the most successful retailers on the planet don’t have a single storefront that you could walk into. Years ago, who would have thought that you could sit in your living room, tap a few keys, and make a box appear in your mailbox just 3 days later?
There are no rental fees associated with an e-commerce solution. No power bills, no water bills; no costs associated with your security system. All you need to do is pay to make sure the servers stay running and the packages keep getting shipped out. It seems like a dream come true for many.
At the same time, there are some negatives associated with going strictly e-commerce. Some customers demand the kind of service and attention that can only be had when you’re standing in someone’s store and can ask them questions directly. Smaller, more boutique stores that have a presence in a local area may see their customer base fall off drastically if those customers can’t shop in person. Depending on the relationships you’ve cultivated with your most loyal customers, the move to an e-commerce solution could do more harm than good.
If, however, you believe that offering your products on a wider scale would be beneficial to your business but you don’t want to lose your physical presence in your local community, a mixed solution might be the answer you’re looking for. Many businesses have seen success by expanding their operations to include a shipping department in order to open doors to sales they otherwise would not have had. A properly executed e-commerce solution in these cases can augment a business’ sales for an investment that could be made back in a relatively short amount of time.
No one knows your customers like you do and the decision to move away from brick and mortar or to modify your current sales practices is not one to be made lightly. However, once that decision is made, a qualified e-commerce service provider can make a tremendous difference in the user experience of your new global customer base.