If you are thinking of expanding your business by opening a new branch or outlet, then perhaps you might want to hold it off and consider a virtual store. A virtual store has no physical location except that it exists in cyber space. You don’t need to pay a hefty amount of money for rent and you do not need to employ store personnel to tend the store and best of all, no store hours.
Your store is open to anyone 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and can sustain all by itself if done properly. A virtual store does not need to ‘stock’ items unlike a physical store where you need to check and fill your inventory. You can sell things halfway across the world and supply dozens other countries as well without getting ‘out of stock’, unless the item you are selling is not in production anymore.
Another difference is the simplicity of an eCommerce site to manage its accounts, inventory, earnings and other accounting procedures. The underlying merchant services do all these things for you, automatically.
If your physical store is located on your street, chances are most of your customers will be in that area. You are limited by your location as people factor transportation cost as well as time to travel to your store when they can get something roughly the same within few kilometers of where they lived. With an online store, however, you are only limited by the language that your website can reach. Bear in mind that you can also translate and redirect your users to a specific site of yours based on their region and language preference, so there’s actually no limit to how far your business will reach.
One of the most important things to consider when building an online shop is the merchant services you’re getting. Although there are a lot of good providers out there, it is of outmost importance that you understand the different charges and how it will affect your business. Different companies have different rates and limits, and it can have a profound effect on your profits overall.
Sometimes, these charges are not obvious, as most companies would alter their payment scheme to sound good on paper but actually charges more if you summed up all the charges. That is why it is of outmost importance that you research and evaluate each company. You need to interview and read opinions regarding their service and how well they cope during down-times.
Not all people are comfortable doing the research, as this might open up more questions rather than answers and which can easily turn into highly technical matter. As a businessman, all you want to see the most important information and cut through all the other unnecessary details. Luckily, there are a couple of aggregator services in the internet which offer research and evaluation for free. These websites work by doing all the research and screening process and are usually compensated by advertisements on their websites.