1) Easy expansion – one “Online Store” serves all

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Typical brick & mortar stores are limited by the geographical area they serve. If you want to expand your business, opening more new physical store is the only logical path to growth. Doing so is capital intensive considering the 3 + 1 months rental deposit, renovation cost, and the minimum headcount required to effectively manage a physical store!

On contrary, if you setup your own online store, there is virtually no physical boundary! You can serve and acquire any customers from all corners of the country, or even over the world.

Complement channel to reach out to existing and new customers

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Does pure play of online business really works? Yes it does, but it’s not as simple as it looks, especially in Asean countries where most consumers still finding a hard time to trust online sellers.To build trust, you have to invest a substantial amount into marketing, and it takes time to gain trust!

The good news is, as a physical store merchant, you already own the trust of your customers, else your business would have folded already. By combining both offline and online store, you can easily work out an O2O (Offline-to-Online & Online-to-Offline) strategy which will help increase your sales and profit instantly.

Here’s how, firstly, market your online store to your existing offline customer base, show them the benefits and promotions you are running online now and entice them to do a sign up with some special voucher. This will increase your customer life time value as they will purchase more. On the other way, an online store couple with right online marketing will help new customer find your online store too. What if they don’t buy online? No problem! They can always choose to drop by your store to buy anytime at their convenience.

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Source: Ipsos OTX/Google 2012 Holiday Shopping Intentions Survey Wave 1: (Q11). In which of the following ways do you think you’ll approach your Holiday shopping?

3) Lower cost way to sell more 
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A physical store will cost you a bomb considering the rental, renovation, utilities, labors and a lot more! Not to mention the risk you endure if the location, crowd & traffic response etc is not what you were expecting! On contrary, a well-designed, well-built online store is amazingly affordable to kickstart and will typically cost you only 5 to 20% of total cost of a brick and mortar store.

Assuming you are without any budget for online marketing. The surefire way for you to get sales is as easy as promoting your online store to your existing customer base! By just sellng them the convenience of buying online from you and get the products shipped to their office or home in the next day or two without the hassle of finding parking or get trapped in a traffic jam. If you want to get more new customers, just put in marketing budget into digital marketing like Facebook ads, SEM or SEO to drive traffic.

4) Cut down unproductive time for staffs

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When is the busiest moment (peak hour) for a brick & mortar retailers? For majority of you, it’s certainly the weekends. During off-peak hours in most weekdays, your employees will have its “IDLE” time which can be termed as unproductive. If you setup an online store, they can be trained to operate it, where they can gain invaluable e-commerce skills and knowledge. It helps to boost your bottom line, no to mention it also adds more value and fun to their work too which will help you increase the retention of your staffs too!

Also Read: E-Commerce Infographic: Understanding online shoppers in Malaysia

5) Clear non-moving or old stock

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Inventory Turnover is crucial for cash flow and it can mean profit or loss for any retail business. Old stocks or non-moving stocks are every retailers nightmare as consumers taste is changing too fast to be predictable. But who knows, one man’s poison is another’s meat, what’s not selling at your retail store, it might be selling superbly well elsewhere.

So, clearing these old or non-moving stocks can be a matter of profit or loss. With an online storefront, you can easily featured the sales or clearance of your products prominently on the front page. Then follow by sending out newsletter to all your existing or new customers. Value of goods vary and largely determined by their geographical area, you wouldn’t know someone else from the other part of the world might just be interested in what you are selling and pay a premium for it!

6) It’s your most complete product catalog ever

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Every retailers has a list of products to sell. Be it your products’ brochures, newspaper advertisement, or even your physical store, You can only showcase a pretty limited selection of products due to limited space. So how does the customer get the latest info at the tip of the finger about your product offering? your new stock? your best offers? your pre-order list? All of this is only possible by just building your own branded online store.

With an online store, it’s virtually without limit. It is your most complete product catalog ever. You can carry a complete list of products, even those not currently in stock inside the database and let customers pre-order it.What’s better, faster, and cheaper way to reach out to customers via a frequently updated e-commerce website coupled with online marketing?

7) Cross-Selling & Up-Selling

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An e-commerce website is an excellent way to cross sell or up sell your products to the customers. The same thing can’t be said for your store staff as heavy training is required.

Cross-Selling – For a given product, you can specify that complimentary products are to be suggested for purchase. E.g. If a customer orders a smart phone, you “cross-sell” by suggesting them a screen protector, a power bank, a phone casing, or more!

Up-selling – You can define other products that should be proposed if you sell a specific product. If a customer orders a printer, you “up-sell” by proposing a more expensive, better-equipped version which comes with wifi now.

Also Read: 25 ways for you to increase online sales

One of the best examples of cross/up selling via the web is on Amazon. If you search for a book on the Amazon site, on the left hand side of the screen, a message will appear saying ‘Customers who bought this book also bought…’ and will list half a dozen other books for your consideration. You can employ these techniques at either the shopping phase, or at the checkout phase. Implementing cross or up selling at the shopping phase can be as simple as having links to similar products on your products pages with some copy such as “Customers who purchased this product also purchased…” it can serve to expose more shoppers to your products.

8) Get Your Products Discovered Online

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Where do the consumers research for product info before they make purchase decision? ONLINE! If you are not selling online yet, how the consumers ever going to discover your product offering? Your competitor might be happily taking away your sales from you while you are reading this.

Think of online store as a 24/7 store that never sleeps. It lets you reach out to your current or potential customer, or vice versa all the time. It helps you to expand your business into younger user group. The basic idea is to get them to buy, regardless via phone, fax, drop-in or even order online!  You are definitely going to Sell More!

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