Covid and its restrictions have resulted in many old and new businesses going online. At Metaphor Racha, we have been offering our work through our website for the past 5 years and have seen its benefits and challenges. Here are some of the reasons why we are online.
-In an age, when people search for their needs digitally, having a website allows us to be found easily. The set-up and running cost of a website is lesser than that of a physical store. Also, an e-store business can be operated from anywhere yet reaching new customers worldwide.
-Unlike stand-alone stores and exhibits, selling through websites democratises the purchase interest amongst many, not only in smaller towns but also a worldwide audience, irrespective of their background.
-As websites are not time-bound, customers sitting in any part of the world can browse and purchase the products not only at their convenient time and space but also in their preferred mode of payment.
-Though the ambience of a physical store cannot be reproduced, a well-designed e-store can provide an in-depth description of the products and can act as a powerful communicative tool. Apart from images of people, process, and products, blogging on the brand's beliefs, progress, and tribulations can be shared.
-An intelligently built website can provide real-time analytics on customer purchase patterns, their geographical indication, age, gender, and preferred price points, which indirectly helps businesses to focus and spruce up on things that matter to both producer and buyer.
-Unlike a physical store, where products need not be kept ready, a web store can manufacture only against orders. This helps in reducing unnecessary hoarding of inventory, thus decreasing waste. Also, when managed well, a website operation can bring down both energy consumption and carbon footprint.
Brick-and-mortar stores and websites offer different experiences and solutions. One is not an alternative to the other. Having an e-store is not a feather in the cap, but wearing a new cap altogether.
P.S: The challenges of running a small, craft-based, self-funded online store is for some other time.