If you have always dreamed of starting your own business, it could well be a promising market!
This is how We listed the main pros and cons of opening your business online. So here are some arguments that will probably help you weigh the pros and cons before you get started!
Table of Contents
The advantages of e-commerce
1. E-commerce, a booming market
The figures put forward by the Federation of E-commerce and Distance Selling (FEVAD) are clear: e-commerce is a particularly dynamic market.
As proof, the milestone of 100 billion euros in turnover should be crossed in 2019. To date, 87.5% of Internet users buy on the Internet and 22% of online sales are now even made from a mobile terminal.
These figures are enough to give a whirl and speak for themselves: e-commerce is one of the most dynamic sectors of the moment, a trend that is confirmed from year to year and that continues to grow.
2. Opening an online store: an easily fundable project
Despite the high potential of merchant sites, their opening requires only a low initial budget.
To open a traditional physical shop, several thousand euros are needed, in particular to allow the rental or purchase of a premises. By choosing a dematerialized shop, these costs are significantly reduced.
3. Make the world a potential workplace
First of all, to create your merchant site and become a merchant worthy of the name, you will nevertheless have to create your status of auto-business.
Rest assured, this is a very simple step to overcome, which requires barely twenty minutes. After that, you will even have your own SIRET number and you can shout it loud and clear: you will be your own boss!
Of course, if you quickly sell many products on your e-shop, which We wish you with all my heart, you will then have to review your status to pass in SARL or SAS … But we are not there yet!
For now, you may not have thought about it yet but, by opting for an online store, you will now be able to work from any place in the world! The only constraint? Have an Internet connection.
4. Who has never dreamed of becoming their own boss?
By swapping your status as an employee for that of an individual entrepreneur, you will also quickly find that you will enjoy total freedom.
Be careful, this does not necessarily mean that you will work less. On the other hand, you will no longer have to account to anyone!
In addition, by opting for e-commerce, you will not have to suffer the time constraints imposed by a physical store. Your working hours will now be completely flexible! Do you want to work at night? No problem since, in any case, your internet business remains open 24 hours a day…
5. Reach customers all over the world through e-commerce
While the scope of action of traditional stores is limited to neighboring municipalities, e-commerce makes it possible to reach a much larger area.
As soon as you open your online store, you will be able to sell your products to customers from all over the world! After all, who has never dreamed of exporting their own products to the other side of the world to make them discovered to as many people as possible?
With a clientele of classic stores, customers often remain the same. With the Internet, your products will be able to sell in France as well as in the United States, Asia or South America!
Similarly, while a physical store can only receive a limited number of customers, a website is still capable of accommodating an almost unlimited amount of buyers.
It’s simple: online sales allow you to multiply your sales power!
6. Your shop remains open 24/7
Merchant sites not only allow you to sell everywhere and to everyone, but they also serve to market your products all the time! Forget the legislative constraints imposed on traditional businesses, forcing them, for example, to open from 9am to 7pm.
On the Internet, customers can visit your virtual store absolutely whenever they want, day and night, 7 days a week and 24 hours a day.
Here again, this vast range of hours makes it possible to reach customers all over the world, without having to suffer the constraints of jet lags. It also helps to attract all people working staggered hours and not necessarily having the time available to shop in stores.
With e-commerce, you no longer have to worry about employees being paid twice during the night to run your store. While you sleep, buyers can still make their purchases and bring you money.
7. Optimize your sales by easily highlighting your star products
In an online store, it is also very simple to highlight its star products.
By displaying your bestsellers on your homepage, your customers will not be able to miss them! To this, you can also add flattering customer reviews or upselling marketing strategies to the sale.
Generally speaking, believe me, it is much easier to highlight a product on the Internet than to have to reorganize an entire store facing,to attract the eye of customers on a particular product.
You are also free to regularly change the presentation of your website to make it more attractive, or even to customize it according to customers, when the latter connect with identifiers…
This is a little attention to your loyal buyers that will necessarily hit the nail on the head!
8. A plethora of marketing tools to increase sales
To develop your company, a whole bunch of marketing tools are also available,to promote impulse purchases or the acquisition of additional products.
For this, we suggest you pay attention to the quality of your photos as well as the layout of your site. Similarly,we advise you to take a serious look at your advertising strategy.
If this task may at first seem tedious, be sure, the game is worth the candle!
E-commerce has the ability to respond to a very large number of orders at once, without necessarily having to hire or find larger premises. It therefore promotes the rapid development of enterprises.
9. The possibility of varying the forms of content
To encourage natural traffic on your site and offer attractive content to visitors to your page, we also strongly advise you to vary the media and types of content used.
Who said that your merchant site should only contain texts and photos? For more originality, also bet on videos or even the addition of some blog posts.
These will allow you to appear to everyone as a specialist in your field, while improving the natural referencing of your site on search engines.
10. A shop easily adapted to trends
Online shops are also highly customizable and adaptable according to trends or different times of the year.
Here, there is no need to redo your entire business or undertake large-scale work. You just have to change your wallpaper or add some decorations here and there, to go from a shop with a summer atmosphere to a comforting and warm site, more adapted to cold winter days!
11. E-commerce: a real comfort of purchase for the customer
It should also be noted that the advantages of e-commerce are not exclusively reserved for merchants. Customers also benefit from it, which explains the incredible rise of merchant sites.
In just a few clicks, they have access to an immensity of articles of all kinds. Filters and search engines allow them to better target their purchases.
These can then be finalized in just a few minutes, without even having to leave their sofa, at any time of the day or night.
So, as a merchant who is attentive to the comfort of your customers, what better experience can you offer them?
12. A less intrusive sales style for the customer
Similarly, some more introverted customers hate going to stores,out of simple horror of interacting with employees.
For a bit that the saleswoman is “invasive”, and they suddenly feel unable to focus on their shopping.
That’s why many customers prefer to shop online. Although the offers are very attractive, the sales methods are much less intrusive.
If necessary, some online shops offer chat or messaging functions,if the customer has any questions. On the other hand, if he wishes, he is free to make his purchases at his own pace and as he sees fit.
13. A huge source of information to enrich your customer file
Finally, it should also be noted that it is much easier to expand your customer file through an online store than in a traditional business.
When customers make their purchases over the Internet, they are required to fill in certain fields, such as their address, email or phone number. It even seems quite natural to them…
In stores, on the other hand, they are much more reluctant to provide this data to the cashier.
This is why online sales sites have much more extensive and regularly updated customer files. However, this is essential information to better understand your customers and set up advertising actions.
The disadvantages of e-commerce
As you will have understood, opening a merchant site offers a strong development potential, and therefore represents a great career opportunity. However, we would be lying to you by saying loud and clear that everything is rosy and that running an online store does not involve any inconvenience…
1. The competition is tough!
Even if the potential of the Internet remains immense, competition is particularly tough in the e-commerce sector.
As proof, according to the FEVAD, French commerce on the Internet has more than 182,000 merchant sites (3). Worse still: 87% of the turnover generated on the web is achieved by only 5% of the largest merchant sites, which is equivalent to about 9000 online shops.
Of course, the top of the ranking is always divided between the same giants of the Web, namely Amazon, Fnac or CDiscount.
Nevertheless, rest assured, despite this competition, 68% of merchant sites still declare themselves to be profitable.
2. Beware of technical problems making the site unavailable!
Beyond competition, the other major disadvantage in terms of e-commerce is from a purely technical point of view… Nothing is more damaging than a website that is down or operating in slow motion.
Therefore, we advise you to be very vigilant about the choice of your web host. Don’t be seduced by overly tempting offers and discounted accommodation. This necessarily hides something!
Favor quality web hosts, which will allow you to integrate a vast content on your pages, while making your site accessible simultaneously to a large number of visitors. Even if breakdowns are never excluded, technical problems must remain occasional so as not to be harmful to your business.
3. E-commerce does not allow fitting before purchase
Another major problem of e-commerce, often noted by customers themselves: the impossibility of trying the items.
Of course, it is quite possible to return a product when it is not suitable, or to be sent several items and pay only for what you keep. However, this involves steps on the part of the consumer. The impossibility of trying is one of the major obstacles to consumption on the Internet.
Again, rest assured, with the improvement of technologies, and especially thanks to augmented reality, customers now have an increasingly realistic overview of the rendering of their items.
Some online sales sites rely on more interactive experiences, which even allow their customers to try their new glasses, or even test their makeup on their face!
The fitting problems will soon be a bad memory…
4. The client must be patient to have answers to his questions
Similarly, e-commerce can sometimes frustrate the most impatient customers. If the buyer knows precisely what he is looking for, this does not pose any particular concern.
On the other hand, if he has questions about an article, he can sometimes have difficulty finding answers.
In store, he just has to go to a competent salesperson to solve his problem.
On a merchant site, on the other hand, he must send a message or contact customer service to get his response.
To avoid misunderstandings and guarantee the satisfaction of your customers, We encourage you to be as responsive as possible! If your online store grows, do not hesitate to outsource this task to specialized advisors, working on extended time slots.
5. Items sold must be shipped
Moreover, since we are looking forward to customers, tell yourself that shipping times are one of the biggest drawbacks of e-commerce.
When the customer really wants or needs an item, he can have it much faster at home if he goes to the traditional shop to buy it.
When making a purchase on the Internet, he is forced to wait until the item is prepared and then shipped,to which are added the postal delays.
Internet shoppers are in such a hurry to have their purchases in their possession that more and more of them are subscribing to paid subscription and fast delivery services.
In any case, always clearly indicate to your customers your delivery times at the time of the order and make sure to respect them… The satisfaction of your online buyers depends on it!
6. Information security is a key issue
In 85% of cases (4), Internet users who buy on the Web use their credit card as a means of payment. This is the most common method to pay for your purchases online.
That’s why, your site must necessarily be secure.
The Internet addresses of secure sites are easily identifiable since they always start with https and not with http. A small padlock must also be displayed in the closed position, next to the address of the payment page.
7. Physical shops are still favored by the public
Finally, despite all these elements, and even if e-commerce continues to grow, physical stores are still popular with the public. 90% of purchases in France (5) are still made in traditional shops.
The cause? The desire of buyers to be able to try, feel, manipulate and touch the products.
But after all, isn’t there enough room for all the players in sales, both for physical shops and for online sales sites?
Now that you know everything about the main aspects of e-commerce, let me just remind you of a few numbers… According to the Federation of E-commerce and Distance Selling (FEVAD), France has nearly 38.8 million buyers on the net (6), or 1,505 billion online transactions per year, for a turnover of 92.6 billion euros.
In other words, even if the competition is tough, the colossal potential of e-commerce leaves you more than enough to take a slice of the cake!