Online shopping is so massive that the market nearly hit 4 trillion for 2021. TRILLION!!
Starting an E-commerce store is the next best thing for you to reach a global audience to market your products/services while making money from home.
However, creating an online business is not as straightforward as building an online course.
But before I say too much, let’s get into the 10 advantages of an online business and 5 online business ideas to get you started!
Why Start an Online Business?
If you’re the owner of a brick-to-mortar store or you’re new to E-commerce, you might not understand the powerful, profit-driving leverage an online store has.
To get you on track, here are the 10 advantages of an online business:
Advantage #1: Lower Capital Required
Starting an E-commerce business doesn’t have to be pricey. In fact, because of the vast amount of E-commerce software available, most of them target smaller businesses and startups in terms of what those enterprises can afford and the features they require.
Plus, E-commerce entrepreneurs don’t have to pay office rent, site approvals, license fees, insurance, and office maintenance costs.
And expenses such as getting a logo for an online business are much more affordable than an office paint-job.
Not to mention the requirement for a POS (Point of Sale) system and all its related costs that brick-to-mortar stores have to consider.
Advantage #2: 24/7 Sales
Online businesses don’t have closing times. This means you can generate sales and run ad campaigns round the clock.
And because most physical stores operate for a limited time daily, you can attract those customers who don’t have the time to visit in person.
Think about your target audience who have busy schedules but still need a shopping solution. Your E-commerce store will be the solution!
As E-commerce software is highly automated, you don’t have to worry about handling clients who purchase from your store during the evening.
Simply set up your software and any automation you require, and you’re good to go!
Advantage #3: Reach an International Market
Unlike a brick-to-mortar store, an online business doesn’t limit you to sell to your target audience in a specific location. You can sell your products/services to anybody from any country!
This is fantastic because the immediate consumers around you might not have a need or desire for your product. But the consumers 6000 miles away from you might.
Through an online business, you can sell your product/services to the world and get ahead of your competitors. Exhaust this advantage and do thorough research to find markets where your product/service is in demand.
Advantage #4: Economical Workforce
For an online business, you’ll need much fewer employees than a physical store. You won’t need to worry about hiring a security guard, a receptionist, or as many employees.
And when you hire employees, you can source your workforce from anywhere worldwide, allowing you to find more affordable employees.
Because of currency exchange, outsource employees who live in countries with a lower cost of living.
Also, be mindful about how many employees you employ. Avoid hiring more people than you require, so you aren’t spending more than you should. But don’t take on too few people because this may make your production flow slower.
Advantage #5: Easier to Remarket/Retarget to Consumers
Owning an online business, thanks to E-commerce software, means you can seamlessly retarget/remarket your products/service to potential customers.
Retargeting is when you remind your consumers about your products/services after they’ve left your store without purchasing.
In the digital world, this is how retargeting works:
Having an online store allows you ample opportunities to grow your revenue whether consumers initially buy your product/service or don’t!
Advantage 6: Easily Collect Consumer Data
Digital marketing opens up much more room to gather data on your consumers, their trends, and preferences.
Through your online business and Google’s analytics, you can view demographics of your consumer such as:
- Their geographical location.
- The time spent on each page.
- The time they visited your online store
- Which pages they spent the longest time on.
- And more!
This information makes it easier to personalize your marketing tactics to your ideal buyer, and it is easily accessible.
Additionally, retrieving your consumers’ contact information is not as tricky for E-commerce businesses. You can request your consumers create an account to shop/add to wishlist and use their contact information for marketing.
Or, you can conduct surveys and even offer lead magnets. Lead magnets are an incentive you give consumers for their contact details. These incentives include discounts and freebies.
Example of a lead magnet from Chef Works:
Advantage 7: Better Personalization is possible
Because of the volume of consumer analysis an online business offers, you have more insight to better personalize your online business.
Consumers want a shopping experience tailored to their challenges and preferences. Consumers should feel that they can rely on your brand to provide what they need.
99% of marketers believe that personalization is crucial to building consumer relations. And that it either has a “strong” or “extremely strong” impact.
Personalization is not just about modifying your product to solve the preferences and challenges of your audience. But it is also using a style, tone, even color palette that captives your consumers.
Advantage 8: Easier to Encourage Impulse Purchases
To get the most out of every customer interaction, you can use colors and high-quality media to encourage your consumers to make impulse purchases.
For example, let’s say you sell footwear. To drive your consumers to make an impulse purchase you can add a professional video to your product pages of someone wearing your brand’s shoes and receiving positive remarks. Or you can use a video to highlight the best features of the shoes.
On the other hand, you can use marketing tactics to add urgency and scarcity to your products/services. These include count-down timers, counters revealing a low level of stock, or anything similar.
Additionally, there is an emotional aspect of impulsive buyers that you can leverage. Impulsive buyers usually want a product/service that nobody else has experienced yet. So, use a limited edition or new product/service as bait to reel these buyers in!
Advantage 9: Brand Growth is Less-complicated
When a brick-to-mortar business grows, it might have to move to a larger location or employ more workers.
These procedures come with an abundance of painstaking, tedious tasks like organizing a renovation for your business. Or waiting till your lease has expired and finding a new location.
But for an online business, scaling your business is done with a few adjustments. You might have to upgrade your E-commerce software plan to accommodate your growth or hire a few extra freelancers.
Regardless, these costs will be a lot less than what it would cost for a physical store.
And if you have a dropshipping business, it’s even more convenient as you don’t have to stress about holding or shipping your products.
Advantage 10: Less Invasive and Better Customer Experience
How many times have you thought, “I don’t want to go shopping with ALL those people!”
57% of consumers prefer shopping online than visiting the physical store.
Ensure you still deliver your consumers the information they need about your business. So, they don’t miss the physical shopping experience.
- Your shipping costs and information
- Your T&Cs
- Your contact information
- Information on any promotions/sales you have
You can create a web page hosting this information. Or create an F&A section.
Also, make it easy for consumers to contact you. So you can help customers have an exceptional experience with your business. And customer experience is pivotal for your business to succeed, as 86% of consumers will pay more for a better customer experience.
Create a standard procedure on how to solve your customers’ challenges, so when your business grows, you can train your employees with that material. Doing this will maintain consistency amongst your workforce.
Besides phone contact, use live chat as a method of communication. This is Because live chat offers the highest customer satisfaction level (73%).
Remember, the better the customer experience you deliver, the more customers will feel encouraged to spend money on your products/services!
The Top 5 Online Business Ideas
Now that you know WHY you should have an online business, you need to evaluate what you’re going to sell.
To get you started, we have 5 brilliant ideas for online stores!
1. Start a Clothing Line
61% of digital shoppers buy fashion products, so an online clothing store is definitely favorable.
If you already have interest/skills in design and a clothing line sounds like something you’d like, go for it!
There are many steps to launching a clothing line, but here are a few aspects to consider:
- What kind of apparel will you sell? Casual, formal, etc.?
- What will set your apparel apart from your competitors?
- Do you need a clothing manufacturer to make the clothing, and which manufacturers are ideal?
- How much will your clothes cost, and what is your estimated profit after expenses?
- How can you gain partners and co-investors for your clothing line?
- Where will you store your products, and how will you keep track of your inventory?
- Who is your ideal buyer?
If you need help to identify your ideal buyer for these online store ideas, use this template below:
2. Launch a Dropshipping Store
On average, 27% of online stores have adopted dropshipping.
But what is dropshipping?
Dropshipping is when a vendor passes on a sales order to the supplier, who then ships the product directly to the customer.
This is beneficial as you don’t have to store your products or manage the inventory yourself. And you don’t have to stress about purchasing a large volume of products that there is no market for.
Sounds like your ideal online business? Here are a few questions to evaluate for dropshipping:
- What products will you distribute?
- Who is your ideal buyer?
- Who will your supplier be, and can that supplier offer you deals on your products?
- What is your profit after expenses?
- How will your product give you a competitive advantage and solve your ideal buyer’s challenges?
- What are the tax laws for online businesses in your state? This will apply to dropshipping too.
When choosing your manufacturer, ensure that the enterprise is reliable and trustworthy. Conduct accurate research on your manufacturer to verify them and run competitor analysis to get a taste of what the market looks like.
3. Start Podcasting
Are you a super-confident speaker who would love to entertain people with their voice?
Then start a podcast!
Not only is this a fantastic virtual side hustle idea, but this can also be a fantastic opportunity for a steady income.
32% of Americans listen to podcasts monthly, leaving you with enough listeners to direct to your business.
And although podcasting is not a quick solution, once you’ve built an audience, you’ll soon get sponsorships, giving your brand opportunity for exponential growth.
Want to podcast? Consider these points:
- What is your niche, and who is your target audience?
- What type of host are you? An interviewer, a journalist, or an expert?
- What equipment do you need?
- What will be the frequency and length of your podcasts?
- Will you invite guests, and do you want a co-host?
- What marketing methods can you employ to stir up the most awareness?
4. Become an Affiliate Marketer
Affiliate marketing is when you earn a commission from promoting someone else’s products/services through social media, blogging, vlogging, or other marketing channels.
But consumers have to make a purchase using your affiliate link for you to earn a commission.
Source an affiliate program that aligns with your interests and business objectives.
The fantastic aspect of affiliate marketing is that it’s much easier than curating your own products. And you don’t have to store any products yourself.
For affiliate marketing, you want to examine:
- Who is your target audience?
- How much knowledge do you have on the products/services?
- How can you diversity the products/services you promote?
- What are the best channels to promote the affiliate program through?
- How many sales do you need to make before hitting your profit aim?
- What marketing methods can you employ to stir the most awareness?
5. Build a Blog
Through a blog, you can generate profit by selling products, hosting third-party or sponsored ads, and much more.
Because 80% of internet users interact with blogs, making blogging a vital tool for marketing, various advanced tools can help you start a blog.
Approach your blog with an audience-centric notion to develop a loyal, engaged audience who will promote your content.
If you want to start a profitable blog, consider:
- What are your niche and ideal reader?
- How will your content differ from your competitors?
- What will be the frequency and length of your blog content?
- How much time can you invest in your blog posts?
- Will you need blogging software, and how much will it cost?
- What will your signature be? This includes your tone, style, and look.
Starting an online store is a popular strategy amongst most entrepreneurs as digital marketing offers vast opportunities that wouldn’t be available otherwise.
When you consider making money, you don’t have to think within traditional means anymore. Through an online store, you can reach an international audience, create a customer-centric experience and generate an income 24/7. Not to mention how much cheaper it is to start an online store vs. a brick-to-mortar store.
Any of the 5 ideas for an online store outlined in this article will work for anyone. Provided you have the determination, motivation, capital, and foolproof marketing strategy.
Anybody can start an online store, so hop on this train while you can!