As our society continues to evolve and technology continues to modernise, we are forever on the hunt for ways to make our lives (and the lives of our buyers) that little bit easier. Now that is where the debate between selling online or offline comes in.
Today, we are going to discuss the pros and cons of selling your tools for welding through the virtual marketplace and therefore, see the advantages and disadvantages of the traditional, face-to-face approach so that you can discover what is right for you and your business.
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The Pros of Online Selling
It’s cheap to set-up
Selling in an online marketplace is much cheaper than selling in a physical store as, not only do you not have to invest money into renting or buying a space but, you also avoid the potential risks that come with this (especially if things were to fail). Virtual marketplaces are a far safer option as they generally charge very small fees for listing items. If you decide to build your own website, be sure to opt for a standard website option as these are relatively inexpensive or even free in some cases (just don’t forget to factor in design costs). In any case, compared to the time, money and energy that you would have to invest into the set-up of a physical store (choosing and displaying the décor, sorting bills and insurance, installing a security system), opting for online selling is much easier and more cost-effective.
You can be available 24/7 nationally and internationally
With the help of online selling, you can be available to your customers, wherever and whenever. This means that you can also reach out to a wider geographical pool of customers who you would not have been able to reach with a physical store and therefore, you will sell more tools for welding and increase your sales.
Your customers can promote you and your products easily
With online selling, it is much easier for your customers to promote you and your products. They can be directed to share your website’s products and services on social networks such as Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest, with just the click of a button! Word of mouth marketing is very powerful especially in the welding field as it is asmall industry that values good quality (especially when it comes to tools for welding). It is much easier to promote yourself and encourage others to promote you through a virtual store opposed to a physical location.
You are faced with more competition
Unfortunately, the internet has no limits on the number of competing businesses that can attempt to win business away from you. This is a huge disadvantage for an online store especially as marketplaces that sell directly to customers (like Amazon) will be head-to-head with you and with their superior buying power, they will more often than not be able to undercut your prices. In order to stand out, you must market yourself well, provide customer service that is second to none and a reasonable pricing strategy. It’s a lot of hard work that brings with it many risks!
There is less interaction with your customers
Being unable to speak to your customers face-to-face makes it harder for you to upsell other items to them or even simply persuade them to buy from you and not your competitors. It is much easier to make sales (and increase customer loyalty) if you can engage with your customers.
Say goodbye to impulse buying
While online marketplaces have improved their strategies to tempt people into special offers or buying related items, these can easily be pushed past and disregarded. In a physical store, your customers can walk through and see other items that they might not necessarily need but that still interest them and they will be more tempted to purchase them. Physical stores also have the ability to place enticing items at the checkout which people have to pass. Online checkouts tend to need to be as uncluttered and quick to use as possible in order to maximise sales, but this means they miss out on the cross-sell potential that a physical store can utilise.
What should you do?
As is clear, there are pros and cons for each so the ideal solution would be to incorporate both. If you aren’t able to, hopefully, this article will have given you a little guidance about which is right for you!