The Advantages of eCommerce vs. Traditional Retail
Is it time to take your physical store to the Internet?
In 2013, U.S. retail sales totaled at over $4.5 trillion. eCommerce contributed to almost 17% of the at growth, and though eCommerce sales make up only a small part of overall retail sales, business experts predict online retail will outpace brick-and-mortar retail in the near future. Though traditional commerce is still a successful business model for many companies, it may be time to consider supplementing or replacing your brick-and-mortar establishment with an online storefront. The unique nature of eCommerce provides ample opportunities for cutting costs and increasing sales, resulting in maximum profitability for your B2B or B2C organization.
Brick and Mortar Costs
Operating costs to run a brick-and-mortar store can include rent, utilities, security, displays, maintenance, and more. These costs increase exponentially with multiple locations. With eCommerce, having a physical store is no longer necessary. A website takes the place of one or more brick-and-mortar locations at a much lower overall cost.
Some companies choose to retain their brick-and-mortar locations while also running an online storefront. For businesses who take this combined approach, eCommerce provides an extra avenue for increasing profit, which can help support the function of physical locations. In addition to providing an extra revenue stream or enabling cost-cutting, online stores can be more convenient and enticing for customers who do not live in the same city as your company.
For physical retail stores, inventory can be a challenge. While some companies may be able to display all inventory on their shelves, larger businesses often need an off-site location for housing extra inventory. If costs for running your brick and mortar locations are already high, leasing or purchasing a warehouse for additional stock may not be feasible. Without an off-site storage location, you may be reducing opportunities for bulk purchasing or find it difficult to scale inventory based on customer demand.
Though eCommerce still requires a physical location for storing your goods, options are much more accessible. Because a brick-and-mortar business may not be necessary, large quantities of product can be purchased in bulk at lower costs and stored in warehouses. eCommerce businesses can also arrange to have other manufacturers ship products directly to customers, eliminating the need for renting or owning a storage facility altogether and allowing for the purchase of stock on an as-needed basic. By increasing possibilities for inventory, eCommerce allows you to diversify your offerings at a much lower price.
Automation and Reduced Personnel Needs
With a powerful eCommerce software platform in place, your business can automate many day-to-day purchasing processes, including checkout, invoicing, inventory updates, and shipping. These automated processes often take far less time than equivalent processes in brick-and-mortar establishments. By automating traditional sales functions, you can lower chances of human error, increase efficiency, and reduce labor costs. Maximizing efficiency through automation also keeps customers happy through a fast and streamlined purchasing experience.
Brick-and-mortar locations often have limits on operating hours. With eCommerce, your online storefront can run 24/7, 365 days a year. Customers can shop from the convenience of their home, and due to the accessibility of eCommerce through web and mobile sites, customers may be more likely to return to your site over and over. This expands opportunities for customers to buy your products and reduces the need to require overtime or holiday working hours for your employees.
Clarity Can Help
If you’ve decided that eCommerce is the right model for your growing business, you’ll need a powerful software platform backing you. Custom-built with B2B and B2C needs in mind, Clarity eCommerce™ gives you complete control over your online storefront. Our developers are ready to help you take your business to the next level. Call or click today for a free quote.