The following article is a guest post.
Online businesses are a tempting modern alternative to the tried-and-true method of setting up a shop to sell your chosen wares, because they offer the lucrative gains of a shop without many of the problems associated.
No rent to worry about, no employees needed (until your business gets large enough to require shipping employees), and much lower costs all contribute to the allure of online businesses, but it’s not all good on the information superhighway.
There are many dangers connected to running a business online, such as scamming, loss of internet, and loss of product through the mailing system.
Online scamming has been occurring for many years, and has gotten more subtle since the beginning of the internet.
Where once you would get an email from a “Nigerian Prince” asking for some money which they would repay tenfold, now you could lose your bank account details from something as simple as signing up to a gaming service through a verified program.
Data security is very important in this modern age, and protecting yourself is one of the key steps to having a successful online business.
One of the unfortunate pitfalls of online businesses is the much lower levels of “random” advertising success.
With a physical storefront, you could design a window display and draw some people in via that method, just randomly. With people searching for what they specifically want, it’s harder to accidentally find a rare gem of a store in your online travels, and therefore your random draw-in can be harder to find.
That being said, online advertising does reach a much, much larger audience, so the benefits may outweigh the negatives.
You don’t have to worry about the travel time of a package that makes it’s way from the counter of your store to the hands of the customer in front of you, but with an online store shipping is always an issue.
Maybe you find a person who is good at organizing shipping and postal services, and they handle the sending-and-receiving side of things, but then you have an extra employee to pay.
It’s a balancing act, ensuring all of your packages reach their destinations in time.
4. Physical Presence.
Some shops, and some wares, really benefit from having a place for a person to visit.
See the items, try them out, talk to the shopkeeper, etc. Online businesses suffer from a lack of this, and some things get sold at much lower regularity due to this missing connection from shopkeeper to customer.
That’s not to say online businesses aren’t flourishing in general, it just happens to mean that some products aren’t as good for online businesses as others.
5. Customer Base.
Finding your customer base in an online setting can be tricky, unless you ask your customers to fill out membership forms when they sign up for a mailing list, and that step alone can dissuade people from buying from a particular online store.
You have to know your product well to be able to effectively market it without that crucial piece of information, so make sure to study up on the many uses of your product before taking it to the online marketplace.
The online business can be a great asset to anyone willing to put in the effort to bring out the best in their product and themselves, as a business owner. Provided these things are looked out for, the business shouldn’t hit any potholes along the way.