Top 15 Pros/8 cons Online Supermarket

If you’re ready to be in charge of your own destiny, but don’t have the capital to buy a franchise or open up a storefront, consider starting an online business. When your store is online, you can reach millions of customers instead of whoever happens to wander in – plus, you don’t have to pay for retail space. However, like with any business, you’ll need an excellent product and a solid marketing plan.

Running an online business requires an unusual skill set. Though the basics are much the same as they are for operating a traditional brick-and-mortar business, there are distinct advantages and disadvantages. Knowing how to leverage the former and control the latter is crucial to success.

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Online Supermarket Pros/cons
Online Supermarket Pros/cons:

Online Supermarket Pros/cons

Ecommerce: A Growing Industry

By one count, there are roughly 110,000 ecommerce companies and online firms generating revenue of meaningful scale on the Internet. Retail ecommerce sales in the US alone are expected to amount to more than $461 billion   this year … and predicted to rise to $638 billion by 2022.

Ecommerce plays just as big a role in international business and commerce. Total worldwide ecommerce sales are expected to reach $4.5 trillion by 2021, with hundreds of thousands in further online businesses possible.

The sheer tonnage of these numbers makes them easy to gloss over. Billions, trillions … it’s easy to lose the context once values go beyond your familiar frame of reference. You know intuitively that ecommerce plays a massive role in global commerce, but may not see what they suggest for you on a micro scale.

Online Supermarket Pro/cons

The fact that ecommerce continues to grow should tell you, as an entrepreneur, that online business works. It’s working for hundreds of thousands of other executives around the world — and there are good reasons why. Yet it must also be noted that 90 percent of all Internet business startups end in failure within the first four months.

In other words, there’s a massive gap between failure and success. Though many companies are thriving, nine times as many flop before they have a chance to lift off.

If you study businesses in the latter category — the ones that don’t make it — you’ll recognize that many of these firms tried to fit square pegs into round holes. They didn’t understand their strengths and weaknesses, which put them at a disadvantage on multiple levels.

So much about running and fostering a business — online or off — entails the possession of clarity. If you want your online business to thrive, you have to be a realist. You must understand which advantages you face, as well as which issues and sticking points could hold you back.

Ecommerce Advantages and Disadvantages

The ecommerce industry is definitely growing, but the only way to share a piece of that growth is by leveraging the opportunities and mitigating the risks.

The Advantages of Running an Online Business

There’s a reason thousands of entrepreneurs launch ecommerce companies every year. In fact, there are dozens of reasons. But when you cut straight to the core, there are five distinct advantages to running an online business. Leverage these and you should do just fine.

1. Low Financial Cost

One of the greatest advantages of operating an online business is that you don’t have to absorb the all-too-often exorbitant overhead costs that brick-and-mortar firms must cover in order to keep their doors open. From expensive storefront real estate and physical signage to customer-facing staff and various insurance policies, physical businesses have a range of overhead costs that erode their profit margins and drive up prices for their customers.

When you’re an online business, lower overhead costs give you the chance to be a low price leader in your niche. Just ask a company like Blindster, which sells window blinds direct to consumer.

“Big box retail stores often can’t compete with us on prices,” Blindster explains. “That’s because we focus specifically on blinds and shades and don’t need large showrooms to house our products. All of our products are available to be browsed online rather than in person in warehouse-like storefronts, and we pass the savings from those key differences on to our customers.”

Many online businesses get greedy with their low overhead and try to pad their profit margins too much for their own good. Successful ones do what Blindster does, and pass on the savings to their customers

Online Supermarket Pro/cons

2. Ability to Collect Customer Data

The amount of data you can collect about online shoppers can be incredible. And if the advances in customer intelligence and data analytics tools over the last couple of years are any indication of the innovations yet to come, online business owners are in for some greater opportunities in the future.

Being able to collect customer data enables you to construct a detailed portrait of your target market: who they are, and what makes them tick. In gathering this intelligence, you can create detailed customer profiles to guide your online advertising, landing page optimization, and even product development.

3. Sell Internationally

Next on the list of ecommerce benefits is that a new brand can sell to customers around the world easily. You have the ability to discover your audience whether they’re in the U.K., South America, or neighboring countries. If you choose to dropship from AliExpress, many products offer affordable ePacket shipping or free shipping. This allows you to price and ship your products competitively to a worldwide audience.

Selling worldwide is a great feat as it helps you build your brand a lot faster, broadens your marketplace exponentially, and allows you to see profit long before your local competitors.

Online Supermarket Pro/cons

4. Greater Customization

When a customer walks into a store looking for a specific product, the retailer either has the item in stock or doesn’t. If the product isn’t in stock, the customer has to settle for a different option, or wait for the desired item to come in stock. Either way, the customer isn’t readily or fully satisfied.

With an online retailer, customers have the ability to customize their orders, choose the exact products they want, and have them shipped to them. They’ll have to wait a few days to receive it, but that expectation is built into the experience. The result is a more satisfied customer.

Online Supermarket Pro/cons

Nike is a good case study in this. It has both physical storefronts and an ecommerce website, but the online facet of the business model far exceeds the brick-and-mortar side.

With, customers can log on and customize the exact pair of shoes they want: from style and colors to shoelaces and logo placement. This level of personalization makes the customer feel valued. (Compare this to the in-store experience where you’ll typically find only a handful of generic styles, which may or may not be available in the correct size at any given time.)

Online Supermarket Pro/cons

5. Easy to Showcase Bestsellers

Ecommerce benefits like being able to easily display best-sellers makes it easier to show off products to customers. While you can design a brick and mortar store to sway people to buy certain products, it’s easier for a customer to find the best-sellers in an online store.

The reason why you want customers to buy your best-sellers is because they’re proven. Other customers have already bought them and are happy with their purchase. If you want to showcase new products to customers you can include them in your upsell, email marketing or retargeting ads. With an ecommerce store, you can include great product photography and product descriptions to sway the customer’s choice.

Online Supermarket Pro/cons

5. Greater Reach

With an online business, you have the opportunity for virtually unlimited reach. Compare this to a brick-and-mortar outfit that is only going to be visited by customers within a 25-mile radius, typically (and closer to a 10-mile radius in certain industries).

Given today’s supply chains and shipping capabilities, it’s possible for even the smallest online firm to handle international sales. This expands the possible target market from only thousands to millions.

6. Personalized Online Experience

Website personalization, one of the online business advantages, can enhance the online shopping experience. Creating personalized landing pages for different audiences can entice them to buy from you without much extra work on your side. It is not like customers coming into a physical store who you need to nurture from the first minute. You can do all the hard work before you launch a campaign and then relax once you release the campaign to your customer base.

Online Supermarket Pro/cons

Try segmenting your email lists based on purchases made, location or even how much money a customer spent. You can also retarget a customer who visited your online store showing them an ad for a product they added to their cart and forgot about. If your online business has a login feature, you can have a welcome message appear such as ‘Welcome back (name).’

Product bundles can help the customer buy more for a better price increasing average order value. You can also personalize upsells based on what the customer has looked at or what you think they might like based on their purchase behavior

Online Supermarket Pro/cons

7. Affordable Employees

One of the benefits of ecommerce is that hiring employees is affordable and, as mentioned before, you can hire from anywhere in the world. You can choose to outsource work to virtual assistants in countries where the cost of living is much lower. You’ll need fewer employees in an online business than a retail location. A huge advantage of online businesses is you don’t need to hire employees at launch. You can start and run an ecommerce business all by yourself. Only when you start to grow or when you have the capital should you start to hire employees.

Online Supermarket Pro/cons

8. Ability to Adapt

Online businesses are in a much better position to adapt to market needs and optimize their approach without much backlash. This is something Aussie entrepreneur Aurelius Tjin has experienced firsthand.

“As my business is not restricted to locality, 70% of my customers are from the U.S., while just 10% are from Australia,” Tjin explains. He’s also discovered that many of his customers find PayPal to be the most comfortable method of payment, so he’s made sure to tweak this part of his business as well.

“Customers simply purchase my products via PayPal, the funds get deposited into my PayPal account instantly and they simply download the product after purchase.

9.  Easier to Encourage Impulse Buy

Another ecommerce benefit is that you can capitalize on impulse buying as online shoppers are more inclined to partake in this. If you have attractive product photography, with vibrant color or human emotion, you can create ads that drive impulse buys. You can also execute a range of scarcity tactics such as countdown timers or showcasing limited quantities.

Online Supermarket Pro/cons

10. 24/7 Potential Income

Another advantage of ecommerce is that online stores are always open for business. With your Facebook ads, you can attract someone at 11 p.m. or 4 a.m. in any part of the world. Most physical location stores are open between 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. By being available at all hours, you can attract people who would normally pick up a product in stores, if the store were open.

Think about your audience who don’t work normal hours or who are too busy to pop into a shop to buy something. An ecommerce store allows you to attract those who may have odd work schedules or who don’t have time to shop in-person. For a customer to order at night, you don’t need to have employees working the night shift to ensure all orders get processed. You’ll never need to hire a security guard! All you need to do is automate your ordering systems so that customers receive a confirmation email when they place their order to give them peace of mind.

11. Easy to Retarget or Remarket to Customer

It’s easy to create retargeting ads to reach out to customers in your area when running an online business making it one of the most profitable ecommerce benefits. You can create a Facebook pixel. You can use the Shoelace Shopify app to retarget the browsers who visit your store but don’t buy.

With ecommerce stores, you can retarget people who add products to cart but don’t abandon and don’t buy or who visit a blog post and never buy. You can collect email addresses easily with an effective pop-up or lead magnet and continue marketing to your customers after you’ve made the sale.

Online Supermarket Pro/cons

 12. Customers Get a Less Invasive Experience

Some people dread walking into a brick and mortar store as they’re forced to interact with the store’s employees. Whether learning about a sales promotion or being asked questions throughout the shopping experience, some may prefer online shopping as it can be a little less invasive making it one of the best benefits of ecommerce. If a customer wants to contact the store owner, they can click on a live chat feature, email or send a Facebook message.

13. Gain Access to Customer Data Easily

One of the best ecommerce advantages is that you can easily gain access to data for analysis on your customer. Most people feel uncomfortable giving away email addresses or postal codes to physical retailers. In ecommerce, you can get your customer’s name, mailing address, e-mail address, and phone number. That means you have at least three different ways to communicate and build a relationship with them. You can even have them fill out marketing surveys, share their birth date with you, and more. If you ask them to create an account, you can obtain even more information from them to better serve them. If your customers are based within Europe be careful of GDPR regulations when contact customers.

Online Supermarket Pro/cons

14. Able to Process a High Number of Orders

If you choose to dropship, you can process a high number of orders with ease. As your business continues to grow, you might choose to hire employees to help with order processing. Also with dropshipping you don’t need to physically have the product in order to sell it to a customer, therefore you do not have to worry about stock control like physical stores have to

In retail stores, long queues can deter people from shopping. With ecommerce, there’s no waiting time. A customer can place orders on his or her own schedule with no delays allowing you to accept a high number of orders.

15. Can Scale Business Quickly

One of the benefits of ecommerce is that it’s easy to scale the business quickly. You can increase your ad budget when ads are performing well without having to worry too much about keeping up with the demand, especially if you dropship.

With brick and mortar stores, it can be hard to grow product lines or add more cashiers due to finite space. You’ll need to find a bigger space, renovate or wait for your lease to end in order to scale your business. If you create informational products, you run into a challenge again as it takes time to write ebooks, courses, and more.

With dropshipping, you can add new products to your store without having to worry about shipping products or holding inventory allowing you to grow quickly.

Some Disadvantages That Online Businesses Face

It’s not all smooth sailing for online operations, though. The fact that 90 percent fail within the first 120 days should tell you that you also face some distinct disadvantages. Knowing how to address and mitigate these challenges will increase your chances of survival.

As with every pro, there is a con. When starting an online store it is important to be realistic so below are a few ecommerce disadvantages that our merchants have run into, that do not apply to a physical store.

Online Supermarket Pro/cons

1. Lack of Credibility

With a brick-and-mortar company, a certain level of trust exists intrinsically between the customer and the business. The fact that a firm has taken the time and invested the money to set up a store and build out an infrastructure says volumes.

Since the barriers to entry are so low in ecommerce, one doesn’t necessarily enjoy the same level of credibility. In fact, many online businesses find it challenging to prove they’re legitimate … especially when they’re small and just beginning to scale up.

Online Supermarket Pro/cons

2. Customer Service Challenges

Although there are certain online businesses that have a reputation for excelling at customer service — Zappos is a famous example — most find it challenging to overcome the lack of face-to-face interaction with customers.

Some customers simply prefer to shake a hand, speak with a person, and have the ability to set up a personal appointment. Online businesses often don’t have the resources or capabilities for this … resorting to email, chat support, or bogged-down phone lines.

3. Marketplace Saturation

Unlike offline businesses that may have one or two competitors in the area, online companies are pitted against dozens or hundreds of competitors across the world. This level of saturation can make it difficult to win any marketplace penetration.

Online Supermarket Pro/cons

4. Ecommerce Is Highly Competitive

Finding the right niche is another one of the worst ecommerce disadvantages. The reality is the best niches are often the most competitive that’s why people are drawn to them. The more competitive a niche is, the more expensive ads for that niche are. There are a couple of ways around this. First, you can go after a different audience than your competitors. If all your customers are being targeted by competitors through Facebook ads, you might try ranking organically with SEO optimization. If all your competitors are using Pinterest, you might try Instagram marketing if your audience are very visual beings.

Second, if your ads are expensive, you can send traffic to blog posts and retarget your customers who visit them to create lower cost ads. Working on CRO campaigns can help you be much more successful than your customers.

Online Supermarket Pro/cons

5. Customers Can Be Impatient

If a customer has a question in store a salesperson is on the floor ready to answer them. However, an ecommerce disadvantage is that most businesses experience a delay responding to customer inquiries. The reality is most customers expect a response from a business within the hour on social media. If you delay in responding to their message, they can become angry and shop somewhere else instead. You need to be online 24/7.

You can hire customer service representatives who are trained to make your customers happy via Upwork. Or you can work with a chatbot to help customers find their answer any time of the day or night. But all of this still doesn’t equate to a person who is able to look after each person, in person.

6. You Need to Ship Your Products

Customers consider shipping times to be one of the worst ecommerce disadvantages. When a customer shops in person she can take the product home right away. But, with online shopping, most customers receive their products in a week or more. While Amazon offers same day shipping, it wasn’t a profitable model until they created Amazon Prime. It only became profitable because they have tens of millions of Prime members. The solution is to be transparent with your customer. Let them know when they can expect packages when they place an order.

7. Physical Retail Is Still More Popular Despite Decline

Even though one of the benefits of ecommerce is that it’s growing, physical retail still owns most of the market share. In 2014, the retail industry had accumulated over $22 trillion. Yet, online commerce had only made $1.3 trillion worldwide. Having an online business in the early stages allows you to become a leader in your niche. Yet, most money made is in physical retail stores making it an ecommerce disadvantage. Hence, why Amazon, despite being the biggest online store, is now creating in-person stores. But, keep in mind that $1.3 trillion in sales isn’t a small number. There’s still a lot of potential that online retailers can cash in on. And this number keeps growing.

See also: Top 50 Profitable Business with low capital in Nigeria

Online Supermarket Pro/cons

8. No One Can Buy During a Site Crash

The worst of the ecommerce disadvantages is when no one can buy from your store if your site crashes. That’s why it’s important to ensure your website is hosted on the right platform. For example, if you’re paying the minimum hosting fee and get a surge in traffic from a high converting ad or a television shout-out like Shark Tank, your site will likely crash.

Fortunately, Shopify offers free hosting in their monthly fee allowing you to have one of the best servers on the market. In recent memory, there was only one time where sites were down. However, ecommerce stores weren’t the only sites affected. Twitter, Spotify, Soundcloud, and more were affected by this crash. The issue was resolved the same day. Yet, site crashes on Shopify are so rare that it’s likely not to cause problems in your business.

Online Supermarket Pro/cons

You live in a world that entrepreneurs from previous generations could have never dreamed of.

You have the ability to launch a business from your living room sofa and expand it into a highly successful organization without every stepping foot outside your door.

When you think about it, it’s truly astonishing.

But in order to be successful in the online business arena, you need a realistic perspective. It’s absolutely imperative that you understand the advantages you possess, while acknowledging the disadvantages you face. In doing so, you’ll be able to develop a growth strategy that’s both reasonable and sustainable.

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