With the internet being readily available in most parts of the world, e-commerce businesses have expanded greatly. According to a statistics, there is a 246.15% increase in worldwide e-commerce sales, from $1.4 trillion in 2014 to around $5 trillion in 2021, which is a three-fold hike in revenue.
Interestingly, this is closely connected with the fact that more and more of these businesses are home-run. Several reasons can be attributed to this redefinition of the boundaries of carrying out business.
Let’s explore them below.
1. No Overhead Costs
Overhead costs are sunk costs, which means they’re not recoverable whether you’re making a profit or suffering a loss. So smart businesses that have joined the e-commerce industry are closing down their physical stores to save themselves the cost of maintenance. Online, they no longer have to pay rent, bills or regular workers. Instead of a store, they only need to maintain an online site, which costs much less
The only costs a business owner incurs to start is hiring a web designer – that is, if they can’t build a site themselves. This considerably lessens overhead costs and thus, increases profit. So, it’s no wonder that most e-commerce businesses are being run from home, and later, with the help of location independent freelancers.
According to a statistics, 50% of all employees will be working remotely by 2020. Work from home means not working a fixed 9-5 job, which is convenient for a lot of people. For example, stay at home mothers who can’t make time for a full-time desk job but sometimes find themselves with time that could be invested in a business need the flexibility that comes from working at home.
You can’t exactly go to an office while your lasagna bakes and be there on time when the oven signals that it’s done, but you can if you’re working from home and need only be behind your laptop screen. It allows you enough time to let you complete your chores but at the same time, pushes you to not waste those extra few hours by lazing around rather than working productively to achieve that milestone you’ve been meaning to in your business. Hence, running an e-commerce business from home is convenient for those who need flexibility in their schedule.
3. Easy To Start
You don’t need a fixed office space or someone to help you – not in the beginning at least. What’s even cooler is the existence of numerous online sites that not only give you ideas about a good niche but help you determine how you can effectively produce products that will make you successful by calculating demand.
Further, there are sites that let you begin your business set-up for free. For example, if you want to start a blog you can just join WordPress. If you want to sell your goods you can leverage third-party sites like Amazon to market your products. Social media sites like Facebook and Instagram can also help by spreading the name of your business. You don’t need any resources other than yourself to get started, no hassle whatsoever to begin that venture you were dreaming of. This gives most home-run e-commerce businesses the confidence to go forward with their ideas.
4. Hire on a Budget
Hiring people can be expensive, but it doesn’t always have to be. An online business that is run from home has the benefit of hiring from anywhere in the world. This means you can look in the market for someone who can provide you with the service you need for your startup budget. If you want to start an online store, for instance, there are dozens of freelance ecommerce web developers that you can hire to provide you with the best services for minimal cost. This will ensure your business runs smoothly and will very efficiently decrease your overhead costs.
5. Almost Zero Initial Investment
Since there’s no need to have a proper setup because you can work from home, it requires none of the initial investment that a normal business would. Most e-commerce businesses are being run from home because you have a chance to take a risk which won’t be detrimental to your finances if it doesn’t pay off. Most startups are run from home and more and more bloggers are popping up for the same reason.
6. No Opening Time Restrictions
When you operate an e-commerce website, you expand your lot of customers by not limiting them to only be able to view your products at a specific time during the day. They can access your website at any point throughout the 24 hours they have in a day, and you would still be open for business while you sleep. This is unlike physical stores that have an opening and closing times, restricting the time you can do business.
The best part about a work from home setup is that it allows you to maximize your time as you maximize your sales and profits.
7. Strategizing is Easier
With e-commerce as your main source of business, you can set out promotions or strategies that help you maximize your profits by increasing the number of sales you make per day. As the previous point already mentions, there are no time restrictions for an e-commerce business, which means you can essentially function throughout the day across the globe.
One crucial strategy a lot of e-commerce businesses use is called ‘upselling’ or ‘cross-selling’. Upselling is when a customer who purchases a product online through your website gets offers to buy more products that are directly related to the product they are already purchasing. This means that products that are priced very low will almost always come up with more suggestions about products that would make buying additional product an easier decision for your customers.
Another strategy used by several e-commerce businesses is ‘cross-selling’. To understand what cross-selling is, visit any e-commerce business’ website and try purchasing something. It almost instantly redirects your browser to a number of different items that are listed under headings such as “You may also like” or “Pair this with” or “Why don’t you check out”. This enables the customer to automatically be able to spot items that might interest them without having to put any effort into searching for them, thus increasing your sales and profits.
8. Track your Success
E-commerce websites are best suited to help one keep track of their sales and profits and to measure their success analytically and quantitatively to figure out whether your business is really doing as well as you had hoped.
Using programs such as Google Analytics will help you store your statistics and calculate the profits you are generating to make sure your business is reaping the results you first aimed to get when you started.
The easiest things to calculate for e-commerce websites are how many purchases are made, how many orders are taken over a certain period of time, the average cart total, the number of carts that are abandoned before checking the items out, and the revenue you are generating at regular time intervals through your business.
9. Shorter Selling Cycles
When you aren’t working on your day-to-day office management, what you can focus on would be your sale cycles. With the click of a button being the quickest and easiest way to check out, you ensure that selling cycles are shortened by an incredible amount. This way you can direct your energy and effort into your products and the actual website which makes the exchange or transaction easier for both you and your customer.
10. Easy Payment Solutions
An e-commerce business works quickly and easily for most people because it almost always cuts out the use of cash money. Some of the most used options for transactions on e-commerce websites are PayPal, either credit or debit cards, e-checks, and at times even cash on the delivery – whichever is convenient for your customers.
Keeping the customers’ ease as your top priority makes the customers realize you care about their convenience and will make shopping through your website a smooth and well-received experience.
11. Built-in Marketing and Shopping Features
The quickest way of getting information out to the masses is through the internet. With high-speed surfing, getting your product advertised will never be an issue for your business especially since you can access a great chunk of the potential customers that you wouldn’t have been able to before.
Sending out regular emails that promote your business or a new product that is launching, getting a celebrity to endorse it, and giving your customers a chance to redeem their coupons are all strategies that big e-commerce business employ in order to make the purchasing turnout great.
In addition to all of the strategies mentioned above, time-sensitive promotions and deals are also a great way of getting people hooked to your website. Tell your customers about a new product that is launching soon and give them a great deal on a few items in stock to maximize your profit. This way, people are almost always certain to check regularly for any other sorts of promotions or deals on your website that may expire soon without their knowledge, making them want to avail of it when they can and allowing your business to boost through the age of the internet.
12. Higher Margins for Profit and Better Cash Flow
A customer who successfully purchases all of the items in his or her cart ensures a 100% payment right away. Particularly for those invested in the trade industry and running their e-commerce businesses in accordance with it, the profits they can make through this method are massive. The margins are further heightened when an e-commerce business allows you to make greater profits on every single item purchased through your website. All this can be achieved from the comfort of your home without having to worry about a physical space to accommodate your business endeavor.
Reliable payment systems such as PayPal, Word Pay, Sage Payment Solutions, and a lot more, all contribute to a smoother and better cash flow. These systems enable you to get 100% of the money immediately at the end of purchasing, and do their best to help avoid scams.
There are many reasons why e-commerce business set-ups are turning to a home-based system, but most of them are because of changing times and demands. It’s far easier, more efficient and way cheaper to not only begin this way but also to sustain your business from your house for as long as you can rather than the open a shop where your overhead costs may very well cost you that much-awaited profit if not the business itself.
When you can no longer handle all the tasks yourself or are unable to scale by yourself, you can always hire specialized e-commerce freelancers to take on some of the load.
Zeeshan Khalid is a Web Architect, an eCommerce Specialist, and an Entrepreneur. He is the CEO and founder of FME Extensions, a leading Mangeto 2 development and eCommerce web design agency. Over the years, FME Extensions has successfully delivered projects in Magento, WordPress, WooCommerce, Joomla and other CMS/shopping cart platforms.