Why sell online?
There are many good reasons for selling your products or services online. Most clearly, selling online increases your
market reach and creates opportunities to increase your overall sales revenues. This page explores the opportunities
and challenges of selling online. There are numerous motivations for adopting online sales ranging from increasing
market reach, adding new products, competitive advantage and more.
The BIG reason
The world of research, review, sharing, buying is increasingly moving online. Allowing for online sales captures this
market shift. Studies have demonstrated a much higher rate of return on companies investment in online search-based
marketing over traditional “outbound” marketing and sales because the customers are already converted, they want
the product they just need to decide who to buy it from and will spend the time to research the best options online. If
your company is not online you will miss this entire market share and opportunity to optimize marketing, sales and
In addition to accessing a global marketplace, your website enabled for online sales can take orders and process
purchases 24/7 365 days per year from virtually anywhere in the world.
Beyond borders: Selling online allows vendors to reach customers outside of their town, state, even country which increases
the population of possible customers.
After hours shoppers: This group is commonly forgotten. If your company’s current hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. you may be
missing out on customers in your region who cannot easily shop during regular business hours. Counting on customers to
wait until they can make it into your store vs. buying online when it is convenient is not safe bet.
Vendors/partners/agents that demand online interfaces: if your company wants to break into more channels many
buyers and agents now want access to an online portal as it saves them time and provides better customer service.
Add new products: selling online can include taking some or all of current stock and selling it online. However,
you may also choose to add new products that are optimized for online sales.
Why? These products may have a better ROI for online sales, and they may be a good up sell for current product
inventory. See the resource page for product ideas, drop shipping, affiliate program concepts and more.
Danger of status quo: If other companies are sharing product availability, making bookings, and closing product sales online
they are capturing customers that could be yours. If you are not online you are not competing with this growing sales
Niche away: Competing with big box stores online can be a pricing challenge. Focusing on niches or specialty items where
your company can stand apart adds value and increases your competitive advantage.
Give customers what they want when they want it: Make sure they have the information they need and the ability to
buy online. Customers are shopping at all hours, both from their computer and increasingly on mobile devices. They want to
know about product details and your website and online store can serve them when your main store is closed (regular hours),
staff is busy, etc. Online forms can capture customer information based on the customer input which save your
administration time and allows customers to share the level of information they need to gain an optimal experience.
Data: by tracking what customers have ordered before, viewed, liked, etc. your online sales system (or in store staff using a
connected CRM) can offer more customized sales experience and/or up-sell additional products.
Save administration time and re invest it: Allowing customers to buy online saves time. Take a tourism product as an
example: without online sales clients have to call about availability, requirements, prices, etc. Just offering availability online can
save companies a lot of time if, for example the average call for availability can last 5-10 minutes and occur hundreds of times.
More importantly the customer may choose to skip a company that does not offer this level of information online and move
onto the next company in the search results.
Real time data tracking: Can save expensive inventory stocking, conservative underselling to avoid overbooking, customer
trends for stock optimization and more.