An online store has several benefits, whether you use it to sell products alongside your conventional business or as a standalone e-commerce venture. Read our list of reasons why an online shop could be great for your business.
10 benefits of an online store for your business
- Reduced overheads – in general, an online store costs less to set up and run than a physical shop, although it’s important to recognise that making e-commerce work requires continuing investment.
- Lower marketing costs with better targeting: online promotion can be more precisely aimed at potential customers than using conventional media. It’s also much cheaper, for example, to send a marketing message by e-mail to 1,000 customers than it is to send 1,000 newsletters by post.
- Expanded geographical reach: a local business can become nationwide or, depending on the product, international, just through having an effective e-commerce strategy. Bear in mind that if you do sell outside the UK, you’ll need to comply with regulations and understand tax and import/export issues. Find out more at the Open to Export website.
- Being open for business 24/7: with automated order and payment processing, sales can be made at any time, and customers can buy when it suits them. Research* shows that the most popular time for online shopping is 12pm to 2pm weekdays, and on Sunday evenings.
- Greater flexibility: an online store can be updated instantly and as often as you like – for example, to promote a ‘deal of the day’ on your front page, without the need for expensive printed display material.
- Broader potential customer base: an e-commerce business is an additional buying channel, capable of attracting customers who have not bought before.
- Improved customer profiling, with the opportunity to target products and services at specific groups based on buying data.
- Increased visibility for your business: with investment in search engine optimisation and online promotion, an online shop becomes more accessible to customers searching for your products.
- The ability to tell people about your business: this is particularly valuable when an online store operates alongside a conventional high-street outlet, providing information about opening hours, contact details and answers to Frequently Asked Questions.
- Another marketing channel: your online store can support your digital marketing efforts by including customer reviews and testimonials.
Article originally published on 29 March 2012, and updated 2 November 2016.