26 Sep Online vs. Offline: Why E-commerce Businesses Should Focus on Both
E-commerce is the big thing in the retail world, and it’s only going to keep growing. It’s so much easier for someone to set up an online store than it is to buy or rent a brick-and-mortar location. If things go belly-up, someone running an e-commerce business could stand to lose much less than someone with a physical store.
However, selling online isn’t just about the online aspects of the business. Even if you sell digital products, there are still things in the “real world” that you need to take care of. The offline experience can make all the difference to the quality of the service. Some important issues include delivery and the efficiency of staff.
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Any e-commerce business that sells physical products needs somewhere to keep their stock. Many businesses use drop shipping, and therefore never need to handle their products personally. However, other business owners want to have more control. They want to choose to store their products themselves. A small business might begin with a self-storage unit or even a garage. But as the business grows, it’s necessary to have something larger. Many businesses eventually need a warehouse space. Consulting supply chain consultants can help to streamline this aspect of an e-commerce business. The warehouse needs to be configured in a way that’s optimal for the packing and delivery of products.
Distribution and Delivery
People may be able to order products online. But, unless they’re digital, they need to be delivered by a real person. Delivery can let an e-commerce business down if it results in a poor experience for the customer. It needs to be quick, efficient, and leave the products in perfect condition. Choosing the right methods and services to deliver products is essential. Many businesses go wrong by working with a poor choice of logistics partner. Whether products are delivered by the business or through outsourcing, the service needs to be excellent.
You might be able to work with some people remotely, but you can’t yet hire robots or computers. The people you hire need to be productive and possess the skills you need to keep your business going. It’s essential to think about the staff at all levels, from office employees to those working in your warehouse. They’re one of the most important aspects of any business. As well as people behind the scenes, anyone who has contact with customers needs to be up to scratch too. Quality customer service is vital for e-commerce businesses. Customers don’t get to speak to staff face-to-face, so online or phone service needs to be great.
Linking Online Commerce to Offline Stores
Many businesses have both a brick-and-mortar store and an online store. Linking the two can help to improve both aspects of the business. For example, you can offer the option to order online and pick up the order in the store. Combining the two aspects of retail makes the business more convenient for all types of customer.
E-commerce businesses might be run online, but they can’t remove offline aspects completely. It’s essential to pay attention to them if you want to achieve success.