5 Advantages of E-Commerce Website to Put You Ahead of the Competition
By Julia Koh
2020 is the turning point where many businesses turn to online stores and e-commerce websites. Malaysia is already an online-shopping haven for digital businesses. And thanks to the new way we live in today, more customers are migrating to the internet to do shopping, pay bills, transfer funds- basically work and play on the net.
Interestingly, we observed and identified 3 levels of how local business adapt to e-commerce this year:
Level 1: Whatsapp & Social Media
The most basic form of e-commerce we see runs through Whatsapp orders, which is a popular method among hawkers and solopreneurs. They would advertise their goods and services on FB groups or Insta pages, leaving their Whatsapp numbers as links for taking orders. During this year’s Ramadhan, many traditional bazaar sellers adapt to this version of e-commerce due to MCO.
Level 2: Online Marketplace
Malaysians cannot get enough of marketplaces such as Lazada, Shopee, and Tmall. These platforms often know the best times to push promos and sales that would send shoppers into a shopping craze.
Marketplace platforms are always on the lookout for new merchants, thus making them popular for both SMEs and larger brands. Brands can also piggyback on these platform’s marketing and online reach.
Level 3: Online Store
The final level of e-commerce is a real operating e-commerce website store. By now, we know that having an online presence is imperative to survive the year. However, it isn’t enough to create a free Facebook page, upload some product pictures, and dust your hands clean. There’s a lot of work to be done before you can strike-off ‘online branding’ on your to-do list.
In 2020, many businesses are taking the leap from Level 2 to Level 3. Marketplaces might be perfect for resellers and agents, but if you want to be ahead of the curve and stay competitive in another volatile year, an e-commerce website is your best chance for:
- Autonomy & Ownership
Perhaps the best reason to get your own e-commerce site is the autonomy it provides. When you rely on marketplace platforms, you’re not only subject to their terms, conditions and markups, but you also don’t get to ‘own’ your brand. Customers will say they buy your product from ‘Lazada’ or ‘Grab Food’, not your brand name.
That’s why a great advantage of a website store is being able to control everything about your brand; from stock, promos, marketing, customer experience, design, and more!
- Wider Brand Reach
Geography is not a factor if you have an e-commerce website. Audiences all over the world can enter your web store and learn about your brand. You’ll also have the ability to extend your deliveries to East Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, Australia and beyond. Compared to a traditional brick-and-mortar, a web store has a wider customer reach.
- Better Accessibility
Customer service has never been easier with e-commerce websites. It saves your customers time and money to physically be there and allows them to have access to your brand 24/7. Now, there are even chatbots and automatic sales assistants to streamline the process and make the customer experience more seamless and pleasant.
- Customer Analytics
Brick-and-mortar stores and online marketplaces don’t provide as much data about your customers as e-commerce websites do. Imagine being able to keep in touch with your customers and create campaigns for them to keep coming back? Isn’t that nice?!
With your own e-commerce site, you’ll be able to gather demographics data, page views, time spent on your web pages and more. You’ll also be able to get the key to your customers’ hearts; their email addresses. With emails, the sky is the limit!
- Strengthening Your Brand Online
In 2020, e-commerce websites also act as a digital storefront that represents your brand. It is one of the first touchpoints where your customer will interact with you and form impressions of your brand. Thus, it’s an advantage for you to build an e-commerce site to gain control over how you want to be perceived in cyberspace.