How Online Selling is Thriving in the New Normal?
The growth of many e-commerce platforms is the effect of the transition from traditional shopping channels to online platforms during quarantine. The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has caused the rise and fall of several industries worldwide. Even though e-commerce platforms have long been on the rise, the process was fast-tracked when quarantine guidelines were put into place. With the absence of traditional shopping channels, customers have flocked to e-commerce platforms to secure purchases and transactions. Many stores and restaurants have also transitioned online to serve their target market.
What is Online Selling?
At its core, electronic commerce or e-commerce is simply the buying and selling of goods and services using the internet, when shopping online. However, the term is often used to describe all of a seller’s efforts, when selling products directly to consumers. It starts when a potential customer learns about a product and continues through purchase, use, and, ideally, ongoing customer loyalty. Most people think of e-commerce as selling or purchasing a physical product online. But e-commerce also includes the sale and purchase of non-physical goods, such as services and digital products. It’s when a business sells online.
What’s Good About Online Selling?
While there are many ways to sell to consumers over the internet, the main advantage of online selling is you can sell to consumers anywhere, anytime. It doesn’t matter if they’re sitting at home on the couch, on their lunch break at work, or even using your app in a physical store they can complete a purchase online.
Advantage and Disadvantage of Online Selling
- No Limit to Geographical Boundaries
Selling online increases one’s reach. With a shift to online, there is no limit to how many people are actually visiting your store physically. In today’s date and time, when a customer thinks of shopping, they first prefer searching it online.
- No Closing Time
With an online store, you really do not have a close-down time. your store is 24/7 visible to as many customers as would want to come it. Also, all of this is possible within the comfort of their laptops and desktops, over the sofas in their leisure attire.
- Omnichannel Advantage
You are a business owner. You have a physical store. Now you have decided to switch online. But wait! Why not do both. An eCommerce website is a multichannel platform that drives a customer from any pathway chosen. Here, one can visit a physical store and yet buy online or browse to social media and make their purchase. Also, the ongoing trend of third-party sources to sell your products is on the rise.
- You Know Your Audience
The one major difference between a physical and online store is that you know who your audience is. Physical store visits don’t give one the freedom to collect the personal details of a customer. however, through an eCommerce website, one can get the complete details of an online shopper, along with its name, age, contact number, email address, and residence address.
- Well Managed Store
An eCommerce business paves the way for faster and easier store management. Since everything is automated, as a business owner, one need not worry about billing, invoices, shipping details, etc. You are also aware of the number of products sold, the number of products available, handling of stock inventory, order fulfillment procedures, real-time tracking, up-to-date shipment, and so on.
- No Room for Trial and Error
Users who shop online are virtually seeing your product. They have a pictorial representation of the product will look; however, they do not know if they will receive the same or not. While some companies are true to their display, some mistake and fool their customers. This paves the way for negative reviews, eventually losing a customer’s trust in online selling.
- Rise in Competition
eCommerce is global and any consumer from any part of the world can buy from any seller of their choice. This means that the competition with the eCommerce industry is not just engaging consumers, rather staying ahead of other sellers as well.
- No Personal Shopper Assistant
While online selling definitely has been a boon because of the ease and convenience of shopping, one thing that it lacks is a personal shopper assistant. Physical stores have a salesperson that guides and advises the customers of what kind of product is available based on their needs and demands. However, online stores do not have the same pathway to purchase.
- Lack Customer Loyalty
Another major disadvantage of online selling is that a certain population still lacks confidence while shopping online. The major reason is online payment methods and the transfer of personal information. Since everything is internet-based, remote shoppers face network issues. This paves the way for failed purchase transactions, the amount debited yet not received by the seller or payment stuck halfway through. Also, there is a chance for misuse of personal information.
- Delay in Delivery
Every eCommerce seller needs an effective shipping solution. Without this, a delay in delivery backfires customer satisfaction. Moreover, along with the delivery time and date, handling the product without any damage is the key. If the customer fails to receive what they have demanded, they are dissatisfied.
Benefits of Online Shopping
Convenience is the biggest perk. Where else can you comfortably shop at midnight while in your pajamas? There are no lines to wait in or cashiers to track down to help you with your purchases, and you can do your shopping in minutes. Online shops give us the opportunity to shop 24/7, and also reward us with a ‘no pollution’ shopping experience. There is no better place to buy informational products like e-books, which are available to you instantly, as soon as the payment goes through. Downloadable items purchased online eliminate the need for any kind of physical material at all, as well, which helps the environment!
- Better prices.
Cheap deals and better prices are available online because products come to you direct from the manufacturer or seller without involving middlemen. Plus, it’s easier to compare prices and find a better deal. Many online sites offer discount coupons and rebates, as well. Not only is the price better, but you can save on tax as well since online shops are only required to collect a sales tax if they have a physical location in your state. Factor in the saved expense of gas and parking and you have saved yourself a lot of money!
- More variety.
The choices online are amazing. You can find almost any brand or item you’re looking for. You can get in on the latest international trends without spending money on airfare. You can shop from retailers in other parts of the state, country, or even world instead of being limited to your own geography. A far greater selection of colors and sizes than you will find locally are at your disposal. Plus, the stock is much more plentiful, so you’ll always be able to find your size and color. Some online shops even accept orders for out-of-stock items and ship them when they come in.
- You can send gifts more easily.
Sending gifts to relatives and friends is easy, no matter where they are. All the packaging and shipping are done for you. Oftentimes, they’ll even gift wrap it for you! Now, there is no need to make distance an excuse for not sending a gift on occasions like birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and so forth.
- More control.
Many times, when we opt for conventional shopping, we tend to spend a lot more than planned and end up buying items that aren’t exactly what we wanted (but we can’t find anything better in the store). Online, you don’t have to let the store’s inventory dictate what you buy, and you can get exactly what you want and need.
- Easy price comparisons.
Comparing and researching products and their prices is so much easier online. If you’re shopping for appliances, for example, you can find consumer reviews and product comparisons for all the options on the market, with links to the best prices. We can research firsthand experience, ratings, and reviews for most products and retailers.
- No crowds.
If you are like me, you hate crowds when you’re shopping. Especially during holidays, festivals, or on weekends, they can be such a huge headache. Also, being crushed in the crowds of shoppers sometimes makes us feel rushed or hurried. You don’t have to battle for a parking place. All of these problems can be avoided when you shop online.
- No pressure.
Oftentimes when we’re out shopping, we end up buying things that we don’t really need, all because shopkeepers pressure us or use their selling skills to compel us to make these purchases.
- You can buy used or damaged items at lower prices.
The marketplace on the Internet gives us access to listings of old or damaged items at rock bottom prices. Also, if we want to buy antiques, there’s no better place to find great ones.
- Discreet purchases are easier.
Some things are better done in the privacy of your home. Online shops are best for discreet purchases for things like adult toys, sexy lingerie, and so on. This enables me to purchase undergarments and lingerie without embarrassment or any paranoia that there are people watching or judging me.
Even though various e-commerce platforms were established pre-pandemic, its identity strengthened since the start of quarantine. The pandemic has caused many businesses to transition online to cater to their customers. Many restaurants have also moved towards delivery services to serve their target market.
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