There are many differences between a traditional offline business and a modern online business.
If you have decided to start your own business, you should get a good sense of those distinctions and make your most important decision wisely. Here are the top nine criteria you need to consider before deciding what type of business you want to start in 2020.
Perhaps the biggest reason online businesses are so attractive these days is that they’re really inexpensive to start. All you need is a product idea and a market. Ecommerce platforms such as Amazon and eBay are probably the best places to start your retail business. There are practically unlimited opportunities on these platforms and if your Amazon product analysis is thorough, chances are you’ll find a profitable niche very soon.
Brick-and-mortar small businesses, on the other hand, are very capital intensive. Setting up a real shop in the real world takes a lot of money. The biggest cost is your rent which depends on the business you want to start, the size of the store, and the location. But in addition to that, you have to cover potential licensing fees and store fixtures before you can even get started.
As the market has become saturated over the years, online businesses now have to compete for eyeballs and wallet share – and it’s a bloodbath! Grabbing people’s attention online has never been harder. For that reason, online businesses need to analyze market data and target specific niches that can be dominated profitably. For example, product research for amazon using tools such as the Ama top product analyzer allows retailers to identify high-margin opportunities that are not easy to spot.
But because not all people can afford to open a physical store, a shop with a strategic location can be all you need to get people’s attention and get your products in front of them.
Furthermore, by building a community around your store, you can attract much more foot traffic which directly translates into more sales.
Now more than ever, online e-commerce platforms such as Amazon, can help you grow your business rapidly. For instance, using amazon research software such as IO Scout, you can find lucrative niches where demand for your products is highest.
Opportunities for rapid growth are harder to come by when your storefront is in the physical world. But that doesn’t necessarily mean offline businesses are inferior. In fact, they tend to be more stable options for entrepreneurs that are looking to build their success one step at a time.
This one is probably a no-brainer. Online businesses enjoy much more exposure worldwide, usually through social media and digital ads. Plus, organic traffic from search engines is likely to generate a steady flow of leads. In other words, virtually anybody can be your customer. This is not the case with brick-and-mortar retail. Offline stores get two kinds of customers: walk-ins and repeat customers. Although it’s delightful to have strangers walk into your store and make their first purchases, your real profits are going to come from loyal customers who buy from you on a regular basis. Therefore, building long-term relationships with your customers is the key to offline success.
Marketing and Advertising
Thanks to the internet, entrepreneurs can now promote their businesses online via a mix of channels such as social media and SEO. Digital marketing costs a fraction of what it would cost in the real world. And given all the tools and analytics at your disposal, it’s easy to target any group of people with any number of characteristics.
Plus, you can easily spy on your competitors to figure out their tactics and outsmart them. For instance, a product tracker for Amazon can give you a lot of valuable information about how your competition is doing.
Unlike brick-and-mortar businesses, online stores are always open. That means customers have access to your products 24/7. Traditional shops tend to trade only on fixed hours. In online stores, customers can obtain more information more easily. They can also place orders at any time they wish. So, there is a higher chance to turn your visitors into real customers and gain more sales.
Websites are a more convenient way to shop as they give customers the ability to find products and compare prices with ease. In addition, they are able to shop from anywhere in the world.
The advantage of convenience is not just for customers though. It’s also possible for entrepreneurs to manage a hands-off business regardless of where they are. This way you can make money even while you’re on vacation.
It’s no secret that establishing trust online is tougher and because of this, you’ll have a hard time building your reputation in the digital world. Online customers are not easily satisfied and if they’re not happy with your product or service, they can tell the whole world. But offline customers are more trusting since they are able to inspect the product before paying for it.
Since you can’t do everything on your own, one of your main challenges as an offline retailer will be to hire employees. And at the end of the month, you have to pay them which means lower profit margins for yourself. Of course, online businesses need to hire people too but you’re less likely to have to hire someone before your business has reached a certain scale.
Business, whether online or offline, is based on universal principles that have remained true for a long time. However, the advent of the internet has given rise to opportunities that were not possible a few decades ago. Despite this fact, offline storefronts still have their merits. Before you embark on your entrepreneurial journey, weigh your options carefully and make an informed decision.