Retailers with a physical store have the best chance of success if starting a web store. They increase their customer base, expand their assortment and spread the entrepreneurial risk. An online shop, however, takes time. Not only to present your products, but also to provide good customer service.
Ecommerce: Starting a Web Store
eCommerce: Starting a web shop
Many people want to start a webshop. Many of them give up within a year because they don’t know how to make the web store profitable.
The fact that many people want to start a web shop is not a surprise when you hear on the news that online sales are growing fast since the beginning of the corona crisis.
The Dutch Central Bureau for Statistics (CBS) reports that online stores had 24.4% more sales in March 2020 than in March 2019. Sales of stores that have both a physical location and a web store increased by 35.4% in the same period.
Preliminary CBS figures for June 2020 indicate that compared to 2019, over 50% more retailers started a web store, next to running their physical store. The coronavirus has hit the retail hard, in particular the hospitality industry. It is therefore a wise choice to opt for multichannel sales *). After all, store owners have nothing to lose if they can simultaneously sell their products online. In addition, many people find the convenience of shopping online from home very attractive.
*)Multichannel retailing is using multiple channels to offer products, where most sales can be made through the physical store.
What is eCommerce?
The term ecommerce refers to the process of buying and selling goods and services online. In recent years, many retailers have discovered the commercial advantages of an online store combined with physical sales. For example, customers can order their products online and pick them up in the store or have them delivered to their homes.
Retailers make it easier for existing customers if they launch a webstore. In addition, with a online store you can find new target groups – people who may have never been at your physical store. Having a webshop next to your physical store, is a business strategy that offers you great opportunities.
Advantages of a web store
Starting a webshop offers a number of advantages, such as:
- Open 24/7: customers can visit your web shop day and night, view products and place orders.
- Competitive advantage over store owners who do not have an online shop.
As a store owner you have more opportunities to draw attention to your products: think of the various social media platforms.
- Your customer base no longer consists solely of people in the vicinity of your physical store. You can serve the whole country and even go international.
- A webstore also offers you the possibility to broaden or increase your stock. In fact, you are not limited by physical stock management as you would be with a physical store.
- You can know exactly how many people visit your web shop, in which products they are interested and which ones not. You can make sound business decisions based on these data.
- With your own webstore you can easily maintain contact with your (potential) customers. Not only can this lead to more regular customers, but there is also a good chance that they will create free advertising for you by sharing their experience and enthusiasm about your online business.
Starting a web store is easy. Earning profit with an online store is a different matter
Having a successful web shop is not something that happens by itself. It is not like you fill a website with products, come up with some texts and you’re in business. Starting a web shop is easy. Turning it into profit is a different matter. Especially the first year is difficult, because you have to invest a considerable amount of time. You have to learn how to set up your shop, which items you put on the site, what conditions apply to sales, how to get customers to your website and how to make sure they come back.
A webshop combined with a physical store has a better chance of success
Large companies such as Amazon and bol.com are growing rapidly with their sales on the Internet. They therefore have the means to compete with prices and delivery times.
Because of these big brands, starting web shops have less chances to succeed. The past year has shown that the greatest opportunity to have a profitable webshop lies with entrepreneurs who already have a physical store. People like to gather information about a product on the Internet and then look at it in a physical store before buying it.
You can also succeed with an online store without having a physical business
Despite the negative figures about people who have started a webshop and have not been able to make it profitable, it really is possible. For example, one of my clients has two online shops that are doing very well – even during the peak of the corona crises. Of course, he is lucky to be offering the right products, but what is also important is his customer service. Providing good service to your customers, answering questions, handling complaints appropriately, taking care of payments and returns: these are components that are very important and not unlike the service in physical stores.
In addition, the number of unsuccessful stores also includes the fact that there are many people who were too easy on the idea of a web store. They expected to become filthy rich after putting a shop online and using drop shipping to keep their business going. They did not realize that in order to make turnover with your webshop, you need more than that. Sometimes someone is lucky, but a serious entrepreneur knows that an online store is serious business, that you have to have a great product and that you have to be there for your customers.
Steps to take when starting a web store
We can provide you with all the information you need to start a webshop here, but we refer you to our articles “What do you need for a website” and “What makes a good online store successful”. Here you can find information you might consider when starting your store online.
Start a webshop or increase your online sales
Have you got a product that you believe is going to be successful, or do you already have a webshop that you want to use to generate more revenue? Then contact us. We create a web shop for you with all the necessary extras, including a customized design that fits your branding, adding the right tags to the product images, SEO-proof product descriptions, etc.
For existing e-commerce sites we can also conduct an SEO audit and improve the store based on the results. This will help you be more visible to potential customers, giving you a larger market and a better competitive position.
Provide good customer services with your webstore
For existing webshops, we can also provide good customer service. We offer virtual assistance by handling customer and supplier emails, answering questions, solving problems with delivery or orders, stock control, etc. These extra services are extremely important for a web store, but you might not have time for them yourself. Contact us to discuss how we can help you.