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By now you’ve probably heard of the word eCommerce – by definition it is a transaction of money or data made online in exchange for goods or services. From its early stages in the mid-90s, the world of eCommerce has grown quickly and significantly in the span of 25 years. No longer bound to only tech savvy companies and individuals, anyone can create an online store to market and sell their products.
In the era of a global pandemic, there has been a surge in the eCommerce market in Hong Kong pushing both SME’s and enterprises to reconsider their online market position. Whilst we carry out our day to day lives practicing new social distancing rules, how can going online make up for the lack of the physical? Is going online simply another stream of revenue or is there more that it can offer? Here are the top 5 reasons we think you should consider bringing your business online.
1. Scalability to go global
Our top reason for going online is the ability to help scale your business from a local market and bringing it to the global landscape. In a traditional brick and mortar store you’re bound to a specific audience based on the radius of your location, however, by going online you’re able to break down this barrier of physical distance.
It’s worth noting that simply going online will not guarantee you overnight success. Putting in work to grow your brand’s online presence will take time, especially if you’re an SME with a small budget. The long term benefit that going online can offer is the prospect of having the world at your fingertips – with a solid marketing plan and strategy, you can capture your target audience on a global scale. An additional pro to going online, is that it allows you to participate in global online activities to attract and catch new audience groups, such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday, 11.11, and 12.12.
2. Save money with low overhead costs
Traditional brick and mortar stores allow customers to physically interact with your products and this is something that is hard to replace. Physical spaces, however, also bring grievances to be considered. For one, you’re bound by the size of your shop based on your rental – hefty rental prices and operational costs may only allow for your business to rent a small store plate. You’ll also need to strategize how much space to allocate to show your products and what products you can showcase in order to maximize your revenue. Additionally, as people become more precautious in their social activities, the concept of the physical store may start to become obsolete; with fewer customers visiting the physical space, fewer stores may be needed.
With an online store, the overhead costs to keep your store running are much lower than a traditional store. With platforms like Shopify, monthly costs to keep your store running are as low as US$29 a month and your store then becomes available 24/7, 365 days a year. With an online space, you’re also not constrained by how many products you’re able to show – as long as you have the product in stock, it’s readily available for your customers to purchase.
If you’re looking to test out an online store platform, Shopify offers a 14 day free trial! Simply enter your email address to get started.
3. Enable yourself to be found
Being online isn’t limited to just having an online store or website for people to shop. Being online now also means that having a marketing and brand presence in the online space is a key to your business’ success. Online marketing is a significant tool to allow yourself to be found by customers – with the most convenient method being social media platforms. With traditional marketing methods you’re bound by your locale and also to those who see your ad space; however, by being online you’re able to target a global audience. An extremely cost effective method, social media platforms can help bring awareness to your brand to over thousands of people globally.
Online marketing also allows for you to get creative to get the attention of your audience. With the right creative strategy, you can capture the interest of your targeted group without paying the hefty price tag that traditional marketing usually carries.
4. Get to know your customers
Being online also means you’re now closer than ever to your customers. With a traditional storefront in Hong Kong, to get to know your customers requires physical interaction and your limiting factors become those who enter your store and who you’re able to speak to.
With an online storefront, free tools like Google Analytics are available for you to track and get to know your audience without having to manually monitor your store 24/7. With these free tracking tools you’ll be able to get information on behaviours such as how often people are visiting, what items customers are viewing, how many abandoned carts your customers are accumulating, and much more.
You’re also not limited to simply monitoring customer behaviour – similar to a physical storefront, you can also reach out to your audience and get their feedback but much more effectively. Using tools like surveys and pop-ups can allow for quick feedback from anyone who visits your online store, saving time and resources typically needed in a traditional brick and mortar store.
5. Ability to act in the now
Never more evident than in the current tide of a pandemic, the ability to respond and act in the now is important. Being online enables you to address current situations and adapt to the changing landscape with minimal interference to daily operations. As things change quickly from the day to day, having an online store allows you to make immediate efforts to ensure that you’re keeping up and not losing out on potential revenue.