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The advantages and disadvantages of e-commerce

The advantages and disadvantages of e-commerce

Starting your eCommerce business can seem like an impossible dream. If you've never started your own business, you'll have to learn the ins and outs of proper business operations and learn about the different types of federal and state requirements. Having your own eCommerce business is possible, but it can be difficult; it's not as easy as building a website and selling things online. This article will teach you about the advantages and disadvantages of eCommerce so you can decide whether it's the right type of business for you. 

a man paying with credit card online

Advantages of eCommerce

Learning the advantages of eCommerce can help you get motivated to start your business while deciding whether or not being an online business owner is something you want to do. These are the benefits of selling items online. 

Low Cost

eCommerce has a lower startup cost than most types of businesses that require a physical location. Retail stores pay thousands of dollars to rent a single location. Brick and mortar businesses also have to deal with costs associated with their type of business, including:

  • Store signs

  • Inventory

  • Store design

  • Sales equipment

  • Employees

  • Utilities

Depending on the types of items they're selling, many retail stores may also have to hire security to protect high-end items. 

eCommerce stores don't have to worry about the costs associated with a physical location; there is no space you need to rent. Starting an eCommerce business still has upfront costs, but they're not as high as other types of businesses. As an eCommerce business owner, you'll need to pay for:

Depending on the type of business you're running, you might not need to hire employees right off the bat; instead, you can wait until you grow enough to need extra help. 

Ability to Make Money 24/7

eCommerce stores are always open, which means you can make money even while you sleep. Thanks to digital marketing, you can bring customers to your online store at any time of day and anywhere in the world, allowing you to make more money and find more customers. On the other hand, retail stores are only open between set times, and they can only attract customers who live in or are traveling through the area. 

Consider all of the people who could shop on their lunch break or at odd hours of the day without the need to get up and go anywhere. By owning an online store, you can start attracting customers that other businesses can't. For example, you can sell bulk items of dental products to dentistry offices, and you will be set. Dentists always need new, fresh, and sterilized products so your business will always be running and making sales.

International Sales

Ecommerce allows you to sell to anyone, anywhere, making it easy to get customers around the globe. You can find your audience, no matter where they live, and start advertising to them as soon as possible. Shipping internationally can be costly, so research your options before you ask your customers to pay for expensive shipping.

Selling around the globe allows you to build your brand faster and start generating more sales. 

Personalized Customer Experience

With an eCommerce business, you can use website personalization to enhance the customer experience. With personalized landing pages for different audiences, you can entice different people with different needs to purchase from your website without putting in too much extra effort. 

You can also improve the customer experience through email marketing by segmenting your email list based on different factors, such as recent purchases, locations, and special events. For example, an online pet products store could ask you to fill out the information about your pet, including his or her name, height, weight, and activity level, to make personalized recommendations for pet parents. 

Access to Data

google analytics

By using the right tools, you can learn just about anything you need to know about your customers. By installing Google Analytics on your website, you can learn about the different ways visitors interact with your website. You can even learn which pages are not performing well and make adjustments to increase sales. 

Disadvantages of eCommerce

While there are many benefits to running an eCommerce business, there are also many disadvantages that can stop you from becoming successful. Learning about the cons of eCommerce can stop you from making a poor decision to become an online store owner. These are the disadvantages of eCommerce

Websites Can Crash

A website can crash at any point, which is why your website must be hosted using the right provider. If you're paying for a cheap service and get a surge in traffic, just like you might around the holidays, your website could easily crash. If you don't have a developer on hand who can get the issue sorted out, your website might be down for an extended period.


eCommerce is one of the most competitive industries to break into. You'll be battling for customers with many other types of businesses and big-box retailers who also sell products online. 

To get noticed online, you'll need to spend money and effort on digital marketing to get more people on your website. From there, your website will have to easily convert visitors into customers. Finally, you'll need to continue your digital marketing efforts to promote brand loyalty. The more competitive your niche is, the more you'll need to spend on digital marketing and advertising. 

While there are some strategies you can learn on your own, it's typically best to hire a professional digital marketing agency that can handle all of your marketing and advertising for you, including everything from social media advertising to search engine optimization (SEO). 

Wondering how to use social media to sell? Read our guide on Everything you need to know about advanced social selling tools for businesses.

Impatient Customers

Customers who shop online expect a quick and painless process, which includes getting their customer service issues resolved within 24 hours. If you don't respond to a customer fast enough, they can quickly lose faith in your business. Not only that, but customers might have questions about a product before they buy it. If your website description doesn't answer their questions, they'll need a way to contact you. Taking too long to reply can result in the loss of a customer. 


Just because your business doesn't have a physical location doesn't mean you get to avoid taxes. Any money you earn from selling products or services online is taxed. If you've never owned a business before, taxes can be daunting. Using professional tax software can help reduce your burden by tracking all of your profits and losses for you. 

Should You Start an eCommerce Business?

Before you start designing your website, consider whether or not eCommerce is the right industry for you. eCommerce is not easier than owning a retail store; it comes with its own set of challenges that you'll have to overcome to be successful. 

How can SleekFlow assist you to establish an outstanding eCommerce business? 

No doubt, the first step in starting a journey is to choose a suitable eCommerce platform. However, to outperform others competitors, you need to make use of some tools. Here is how SleekFlow makes a difference.

SleekFlow, an omnichannel social commerce platform, allows firms to communicate with clients across various channels simultaneously. It helps shorten your response time and offer prompt customer service.

What SleekFlow can do:

The response time has become much shorter (after we use SleekFlow). At the same time, we will not miss messages anymore. This elevates customer satisfaction.

Cheuk Ying Wong

Founder, Weirdo Beauty

Want to provide prompt customer service? Read how Weirdo Beauty, a beauty salon, streamlines the workflow with SleekFlow.

About the writer

Matt Casadona has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, with a concentration in Marketing and a minor in Psychology. Matt is passionate about marketing and business strategy and enjoys San Diego life, traveling, and music. 

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