Online Marketplaces vs. P2P Sales
The world of E-Commerce offers a unique platform for engaging in business. In the past, Traditional retailing had its own niche for transaction space, offering a business owner easy control over their inventory, their records and their consumers, with the opportunity to engage with them face to face while they select products. However, with the development of cyber technology in recent years, it has become a more ideal option for the typical merchant attempting to engage in trade. Domain hosting services like Big Commerce and Wix allow most intermediate web designers and experienced merchants to create a customized consumer experience, essentially allowing you to establish a virtual store that you can do business on anywhere. Here, I will outline the differences between the two, as while many traditional retailers engage in E-Commerce and vice-versa, many small business owners are working with limited resources and cannot afford all the tools necessary to utilize both forms of trade.
Who makes better use of what?
Without a solid number of sales under your belt, going into traditional retail can be a difficult task. If you don’t have profit yet, how can you generate enough revenue to establish and maintain a store, along with the other utilities that come with it? Unless the new business owner is dealing with a large initial investment, trying to engage in traditional retail can turn out to be a daunting and futile process. However, there are hosts of ecommerce sites that make establishing your initial “store” relatively easy, with free services like Magento, as well as premium packages like Shopify. Although there is a slight learning curve in terms of how easy your site is to customize, familiarizing yourself with the layout and engaging with customers, many ecommerce sites come packed with enough features that it could be considered more efficient for doing business than a traditional retail store. This is due, in part to the analytics, but also due to the ease of access and SEO optimization that encourages increased traffic. Many Point of Sale systems offered by these services allow the merchant to track customer demographic data, recording it for future promotional use. Posim is one of the Point of Sale Systems, allowing you access to expense and financial reporting that you didn’t even know you needed. Furthermore, ecommerce, as a growing industry, has contributed to how easy it is to create your own business, with services like Vend allowing you to turn your tablet or computer into an unorthodox cash register and widen the scope of your virtual marketplace. Your store can be anywhere, as long as you have your tablet and access to your inventory. Is ecommerce the future
Is one better than the other?
The short answer is no. The long answer: while ecommerce was established to simulate traditional retail in a virtual space, the real world capital opportunities make it a somewhat better option than traditional retail. It offers the most accessible services with minimal effort and time commitment. While knowing Html, CSS, and Java allow you to heavily customize the pages, it’d take the average user less than a week to pick the interface up, making it easier to access than traditional retail. Even the price point is dramatically reduced, with the most expensive listed domain service offering their premium package for $189 on ShopifyPlus. While this may seem somewhat pricy for a website, maintaining a store creates a surplus of expenses, and they largely outweigh the monthly fee you have to pay to subscribe to their services
However, much like the best part of reading a book is holding it in your hands, the customer experience that a store promotes is somewhat unique. It gives the merchant and the employees a chance to interact with the consumer, helping them to purchase goods and giving them promotional information regarding the store. The hands on experience, while not a necessity, promotes a sense of brand security and recognition, with your store being a representation of what your business represents. There’s a huge difference between the footlocker that I’m used to back home and the footlocker website. I’d much rather walk inside the store, smell new shoes and look at what’s in season than stare at listings on the website.
Why not both?
If you have the financial resources and the supply to support doing business across two marketplaces then nothing should stop you. The wider platform you access, the more opportunity for traffic on both ends. Unless a merchant can’t utilize one of the platforms, they should make use of both of them, optimizing the amount of sales that one can generate from hosting similar stores along different platforms. The Point of Sale System also adds an extra useful addition to the traditional retailer, allowing them to keep better track of their financial records and adapt to a more modern and pervasive form of commerce. It ensures that no matter where a transaction occurs, the system will process it seamlessly within seconds, notifying you of the loss in inventory and payment. While it can be limiting to only utilize one, utilizing ecommerce and traditional retail afford fantastic opportunities for allowing your virtual store to integrate with your physical store. Using them in conjunction can lead to high degrees of success.
While it may seem like E-Commerce is making traditional retail obsolete, the way many systems were built to support real stores indicates that E-Commerce isn’t set to get rid of retail, but rather, enhance on the retail experience, making both the consumer and the merchant’s life easier. eCommerce store