1. Easy expansion - one "Online Store" serves all
Typical brick & mortar stores are limited by the geographical area they serve. If you want to expand your business, opening more new physical store is the only logical path for growth. Doing so is capital intensive considering the 3 + 1 months rental deposit, renovation cost, and the minimum headcount required to effectively manage a physical store!
On the contrary, if you setup your own online store, there is virtually no physical boundary! You can serve and acquire any customers from all corners of the country, or even over the world.
2. Complement channel to reach out to existing and new customers
Does pure play of online business really works? Yes it does, but it's not as simple as it looks, especially in Southeast Asia countries where most consumers still finding a hard time to trust online sellers. To build trust, you have to invest a substantial amount into marketing, and it takes time to gain trust!
The good news is, as a physical store merchant, you have already owned the trust of your customers, else your business would have folded. By combining both offline and online store, you can easily work out an O2O (Offline-to-Online & Online-to-Offline) strategy which will boost your sales and profit instantly.
Here's how, firstly, market your online store to your existing offline customer base, show them the benefits and promotions you are running online now and entice them to do a sign up with voucher campaign. This could increase your customer life time value as they will purchase more. On the other hand, an online store coupled with right online marketing strategy will help new customer find your online store too. What if they don't buy online? No problem! They can always choose to drop by your store to buy anytime at their convenience.
3. Lower cost to sell more
A physical store will cost you a bomb considering the rental, renovation, utilities, labors and a lot more! Not to mention the risk you endure if the location, crowd & traffic response etc is not what you were expecting! On contrary, a well-designed, well-built online store is amazingly affordable to kickstart and will typically cost you only 5 to 20% of total cost of a brick and mortar store.
Assuming you are without any budget for online marketing. The surefire way for you to get sales is as easy as promoting your online store to your existing customer base! By just selling them the convenience of buying online from you and get the products shipped to their office or home in the next day or two without the hassle of parking or traffic jam. If you aim to acquire new customers, just invest into digital marketing like SEO, SEM and Facebook advertising to drive traffic.
4. Cut down unproductive time for staffs
When is the busiest moment (peak hour) for a brick & mortar retailers? For majority of you, it's certainly the weekends. During off-peak hours in the weekdays, your employees will have their "IDLE" time which can be termed as unproductive. If you setup an online store, they can be trained to operate it, where they can gain invaluable e-commerce skills and knowledge. It helps to boost your bottom line, not to mention it also adds more value and fun to their work too which will might contribute to the retention of your staffs too!
5. Clear non-moving or old stock
Inventory Turnover is crucial for cash flow and contributing directly to profit or loss for any retail business. Old stocks or non-moving stocks are every retailers' nightmare as consumers preference is changing too fast to be predictable. But who knows, one man's poison is another's meat, what's not selling at your retail store, it could be selling well elsewhere.
So, clearing these old or non-moving stocks can be a matter of profit or loss. With an online storefront, you can easily featured the sale or clearance of your products prominently on the front page. You can then send out newsletter to all your existing or new customers. Value of goods vary and largely determined by their geographical area, you wouldn't know someone else from the other part of the world might just be interested in what you are selling and pay a premium for it!
6. It's your most complete product catalog ever
Every retailers have a list of products to sell. Be it your product brochures, newspaper advertisement, or even your physical store, you can only showcase selective products due to limited space. So, how does your customer get the latest info at fingertips about your product offering, your new stock, your best offers, or your pre-order list? All of this is only possible by just building your own branded online store.
With an online store, it's virtually without limit. It is your most complete product catalog ever. You can carry a complete list of products, even those which not currently in stock which you accept pre-orders. What's better, faster, and cheaper way to reach out to customers via a frequently updated e-commerce website coupled with online marketing?
7. Cross-Selling and Up-Selling
An e-commerce website is an excellent way to cross-sell or up-sell your products to the customers. The same thing can't be said for your store staff as heavy training is required.
Cross-Selling: For a given product, you can recommend what are the complimentary products to go along with the purchase. For example, if a customer orders a smart phone, you "cross-sell" by suggesting them a screen protector, a power bank, a phone casing, or more!
Up-selling: You can define other products that should be recommended with a specific product. If a customer orders a printer, you "up-sell" by proposing a more expensive, better-equipped version which is equipped with WiFi.
One of the best examples of cross & up selling via the web is non other than Amazon.com. If you search for a book on the Amazon site, on the left hand side of the screen, a message will appear displaying "Customers who bought this book also bought" and will list half a dozen other books for your consideration. You can employ these techniques at either the shopping phase, or at the checkout phase. Implementing cross or up selling at the shopping phase can be as simple as having links to similar products on your products pages with some copy such as "Customers who purchased this product also purchased". This serves to expose more products to your shoppers.
8. Get your products discovered online
Where do most of the consumers research for product information before making purchase decision? ONLINE! If you are not selling online yet, how are they going to discover your product offering? Your competitors might be happily taking away sales from you while you are reading this.
Think of online store as a 24/7 store that never sleeps. It allows you to reach out to your current or potential customer, or vice versa all the time. On the other hand, this expands your reach to younger customer base who are heavy Internet users. The basic idea is to get them to buy, regardless via phone, fax, drop-in or even order online! You are definitely going to SELL MORE!