Hey, Junkies, the e-commerce industry in South Africa is a fairly new industry but a growing industry which was estimated to have reached R14 billion in 2018. With such figures, there is definitely a slice of pie for everyone and below are 7 reasons you should start your e-commerce business today.
- Your business is accessible.
In traditional retail, a marketplace is usually a physical store you visit in order to buy that merchants’ products. You will hear the radio and tv ads that advertise a product for you to go buy at the retailer’s store. E-commerce is not traditional retail as the buying and selling of products occur online and is available to you everywhere and at all times. This is a liberation to the market from being restricted to a physical location and makes it possible for consumers to shop from any location as long as they have a device that connects to the internet. From a consumer’s point of view, being very accessible reduces transaction costs as it not necessary for them to travel to a physical store to purchase items. Their order can be delivered directly to their doorstep through the use of a courier.
- Global Reach
E-commerce allows for transactions to happen between different cultures and national boundaries more easily and cheaper compared to traditional retail. As a result of this, your potential target market can be up to the size of the entire online population, which is millions of people. In comparison, a brick and motor traditional retail setup limits you to your target market in your local area or only nationally if you have a store in each province. With e-commerce, you have the potential to become a global success as your reach is endless.
- Low costs to enter the market
What allows an e-commerce business to have global reach is the global standards that exist for e-commerce businesses around the world. The technical standards, especially in terms of platforms available to conduct an e-commerce business such as social media, lower the market entry costs and one, can start a business with little or no money at all. Also having or transforming your business to an e-commerce business makes shopping for your products by your customers simpler as they can easily find prices and read on the full specifications of your products. With e-commerce, finding suppliers has become a relatively easy exercise with the ability to compare product offerings and prices from different suppliers.
- Ability to be more interactive with customers
Information richness refers to the complexity and content of a message. With the internet now available globally, information is now available at your fingertips. Traditional retail has the advantage that it uses direct marketing and face to face interaction where customers can touch and feel a product before they buy the product. But with ecommerce, your reach of customers is further than traditional retail. With the developments in e-commerce technologies such as artificial intelligence and 3D product images, you can now take the experience of a customer experiencing product to their home or comfortable space.
- Ability to easily create a list of customers details for communication
Ecommerce enables two-way communication between merchant and customer. You as an online seller have the ability with the use of the technologies available to create interactive conversations with your customer as you are able to get client information collected through online forms. The technologies available allow sellers to create interactions similar to face to face interactions but on a more global scale. One great tool that is available is MailChimp for your email campaigns.
- Ability to add value
The internet increases with information per minute and thus the amount of information available to all users of the internet is vast. Information is key in e-commerce, but it has one disadvantage as customers have the potential to find out where you stock your products and the real cost of the products. That is why with e-commerce you need to ensure you offer your customer more than just a cost-effective product but add value to their lives. Don’t place price as your differentiating factor as a customer can easily compare prices. Always build a relationship with current and potential customers.
E-commerce allows you to personalize your business to your target market as you are able to target your marketing to specific messages that can include a customer’s name, interests, and past interests. With the technology available you are able to collect data on your customers at the point of sale. You are then able to track customers behaviors and customize each customer experience according to the data collected for that customer.
With these benefits to entering the e-commerce industry, what is stopping you from taking the first step to joining this industry?
Comment below your current challenges and fears on why you have not entered the e-commerce industry yet.