The old axiom “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” may be applicable in a lot of situations, but that frame of mind can hold back progress, and prevent businesses from capitalizing on opportunities for growth. If you’ve got a successful brick and mortar business, you might be hesitant to mess with your formula for profit by adding a website. But did you know can easily incorporate e-commerce into your business plan, without sacrificing any part of your reliable, traditional Mom & Pop operation?
Conversely, if something is broke, starting online can be the way to fix it. If you have seen your business slow down, or you’re interested in diversifying your revenue stream, getting into e-commerce is a simple way of catching up with the times and rejuvenating your business.
Here are five reasons to take your mom & pop business on to the Internet.
1. You Can Expand Your Customer Base Exponentially
If you’re limiting your customer base to the people in your immediate vicinity, you’re missing out on the entire rest of the world! Especially if the products you sell are unique, there are likely to be thousands of people across the planet who would love to buy them, but aren’t geographically positioned to visit your brick and mortar shop.
Taking your store online will open up your business to people everywhere. You’ll probably be surprised to see how many customers exist outside your own neighborhood.
2. It’s Cheap to Set Up
Setting up a website costs a fraction as much as opening a new brick and mortar store. Your best bet is to hire a web designer, especially if you yourself are inexperienced with the Internet. This is less expensive than it’s ever been, and the result will be impressive and convey an image of trustworthiness.
You can incorporate shipping prices into the total cost of purchasing your products online, so that you’re not losing money on shipping products. The expansion to your customer base will outweigh any additional costs for packaging and sending out products.
3. You Can Learn More About Your Customers
Collecting data online is much easier than it is in traditional business, and this can help you strategize to increase profits, both at your physical location and your e-commerce store. You can gather info on the demographics of your audience, what they want from your company, and how best to market to them. All of this can help you build your company intentionally around what your target audience is looking for, instead of attempting to guess.
4. An Online Store Requires Less Manpower
While your brick and mortar business always needs someone around to collect money in exchange for your products, your online store basically runs itself. The software can process transactions itself, and in some cases, you can even arrange to keep track of what you need in inventory, based on patterns in ordering. Basically, you’ll be able to stay focused on your physical store while your online store operates independently.
5. You Can Control the Narrative Around Your Business
Another advantage of having a website is that you can shape your customers’ perception of your brand. Instead of spending money on ad campaigns to convince the people in your area to stop by and buy something, you can invest in a beautiful website. Use carefully crafted messaging to build positive associations in visitors’ eyes. And you can continually adjust your messaging to more effectively address customer’s priorities.
If you don’t have an online store, or at the very least a website, you’re behind the times. For the reasons above and many others, you should look into taking your small business online.