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Embracing E-commerce for Your Retail Store

4 min read

E-commerce for retail store involves buying and selling products or services over the Internet. It benefits many small retailers by allowing them to offer their products or services worldwide and therefore compete with larger companies. Many small retail businesses can increase their revenue by advertising, buying and selling their products online. 

Embracing e-commerce allows retail store owners to expand their current business. Developing an effective online store and managing internet-based payments is easily achievable for most small business owners. The difficulty lies in recognising which parts of the business can be successfully adapted to online markets and which parts work better offline. Ultimately, if a business is not offering e-commerce to its customers, it’s losing out on potential profits and handing over business to competitors. 

Benefits of E-commerce for Retail Store

The bigg

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est benefit that e-commerce offers businesses is that it removes the obstacles which currently prevent them from selling products in physical stores and gives their customers more choice: 

Businesses Can: 

  • Sell products at any time of the day 
  • Accept payment by credit card, direct deposit or PayPal 
  • Provide more information on a product 
  • Promote new products and up-sell 

Their Customers Can: 

  • Shop when it’s convenient to them 
  • Choose how they want to pay 
  • Get their questions answered more thoroughly 
  • Find out about new products they otherwise would not have known about 

Advantages of E-commerce 

Establish an Online Presence

Nowadays, more people are using the internet to make purchases. Having an online presence allows customers to find your business. No longer do you have to be confined by the limits of your local area. Your business can reach any location in the world which can lead to new opportunities. It also lets your business keep up with the competition and hopefully prevent customers from heading to your competitors to make online purchases. 

Your Store is Always Open

Customers may want to purchase products from your physical store but may not have the time to shop during your trading hours or simply live too far away. With e-commerce, customers are able to browse through your online store and buy what they want, anywhere and anytime. You also have the ability to sell to people all over the world which means your e-commerce store is always open (your business can be earning you money while you sleep). 

Attract New Customers

E-commerce allows a business to grow and attract new customers along the way. Physical retail stores operate mainly on branding and customer relationships. Many of its customers are restricted to the areas in close proximity to the store. Online retail has the added benefit of driving traffic from search engines. Customers may find your store in the search engine results, click on the link and land on your e-commerce website. 

It’s Cost-Effective

Running an e-commerce store doesn’t come with the same overhead costs as a physical store. Apart from the initial outlay costs for an e-commerce site (which can be recovered quite quickly over several months), expenses will be minimal. E-commerce costs will mainly include routine website maintenance and updating content. Marketing costs should also be lowered as internet advertising generally costs less than print advertising. 

Increase Brand Awareness

Most shoppers conduct some sort of online research before buying, regardless of whether they purchase online or in-store. E-commerce will help your brand get more awareness as having an online presence ensures that potential customers find your business. Your aim is to enhance your website’s search engine optimisation (SEO) so that your business ranks highly in search engine results. The use of good keywords when developing web pages will help drive traffic to your site, thus making it more visible and allowing customers to become familiar with your brand and reputation. 

Provide More Information

An e-commerce site enables a business to provide more information about its products, services and overall practices to customers. Information can include but not be limited to: 

  • Product description 
  • Product comparisons 
  • Stock availability 
  • Pricing 
  • Customer reviews 
  • Shipping charges 
  • Tips and tricks 
  • How to use products 
  • How products are made 
  • Where products are made/sourced 
  • How your business began 
  • Why you are in business 
  • Blog posts 
  • Video content 

Providing customers with relevant information helps them make informed buying choices. In a competitive market, this type of information can set your business apart from your competitors. If running an online store is impractical, launching a basic business website with detailed product descriptions, product availability, photos, and prices is a good start. Providing customers with basic information about your business may be enough to lure them into your physical store. 

Understand Your Customers Better

The buying habits of customers are very important for a business. Having an e-commerce store makes it easier to monitor the purchasing patterns of customers. Having a website allows a business to record many activities of its visitors and answer the following questions: 

  • What products are viewed? 
  • What products create the most interest? 
  • Which pages are visited the most? 
  • Which items are popular/unpopular? 
  • Which items are purchased the most? 
  • What time of day/night are customers likely to buy? 
  • Does price motivate sales? 

By monitoring and analysing this information, a business is able to sell more efficiently to its customers. It can satisfy customers’ needs by fulfilling their requirements. Not only will this improve customer relations, it will hopefully build ongoing relationships and keep them coming back. 

Servicing Niche Markets

E-commerce makes servicing niche markets easier, as buyers and sellers of niche products can find it hard to locate one another in the physical world. If your business sells a niche product or operates in a niche market, it would be greatly beneficial to distribute your goods through an online store. This would expose your business to a wider audience and a greater depth of customer. Customers searching for a specific product simply use a search engine to locate their required product which would hopefully lead them to your store. 

Traditional Retailers: Which Ones Are Going Digital?

Disadvantages of E-commerce   

Whilst there are many more advantages to embracing e-commerce, it’s worth noting and considering some of the disadvantages: 

  • E-commerce lacks a personal touch 
  • Customers don’t receive physical goods immediately or at all 
  • Some goods cannot be purchased online 
  • Security and fraud issues relating to websites and transaction processes 
  • Legal issues regarding online sales and customers rights 
  • The inability to touch, feel, taste or smell products 
  • Complexities in accounting, compliance and taxation (especially selling overseas) 
  • Users simply may not trust the e-commerce site as they are unknown 
  • Difficulties in contacting a customer service representative 
  • Excessive shipping fees 
  • Lack of warranty coverage 
  • Poor exchange and refund policies 
  • Network unreliability 
  • Privacy Issues 
  • Constant upkeep of the online store 


There will always be people who prefer to shop in-store, others who prefer to shop only online and those who prefer to do both. Whilst traditional retail still has a place in the future, e-commerce is becoming a great way for retailers to meet everybody’s needs. Today’s customers want choice and retailers can effectively provide this for them, by successfully integrating their physical retail store with e-commerce. Without e-commerce, businesses are limiting the potential for growth….those who embrace it have more chance of surviving and flourishing.


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