Small home-based businesses play an essential role in the growing scope of e-commerce. However, they face inherent dangers when competing against established companies several times their size.
Through online platforms, they can change that situation. Most of them use e-commerce platforms. They are yet to discover other platforms notably information, entertainment, communication, and comparison platforms. Here are the advantages of operating on multiple platforms.
To increase their customer reach
Cottage industries can open websites and e-commerce websites where they can reach out to different customers. If you are a business owner, you can sell through your own website with help of a credit card payment gateway while simultaneously capitalizing on emergent and established marketplaces. Unlike businesses that operate on one platform, you can net a variety of customers from a wider pool. You can gather customers from social media, comparison sites, and review forums.
Using drop shipping and other e-commerce innovations can enhance your ability to sell across borders. The cost of setting up and managing online platforms is ridiculously low. Instead of targeting 10, 000, you can easily target 100, 000 using the same budget if you set up your platforms in a way that they complement each other.
To save operational costs
In the past, small companies only served small geographical locations. Some only served their immediate streets. Today, they can target customers from other regions. They also had to deal with invoicing and mail delivery manually. Today, things have changed. You can use automated checking and checkout systems. The customer can order and make payments without involving any of your staff-hours.
You can cut costs significantly, as people can go to their preferred platform to purchase your product. If someone wants the trust and familiarity that comes with Amazon, Alibaba or other global brands, he can still find your products there. Alternatively, he or she can always visit your e-commerce website.
Enhance their data acquisition, storage, and use
Information age presents a new challenge for businesses. Collecting and harnessing information is cumbersome. It is also quite technical. With multiple platforms, you can collect holistic data from the customer, which is useful in customer profiling, targeting, and eventual acquisition. Online platforms are easy to integrate together so that you harvest all the information available from customer profile to customer behavior.
Today’s customer wants to feel special. To do that, you need a 360° approach to data. Information such as payment options, time of purchase, brand contact point, combined products, and frequency can come from e-commerce data.
Improve social and customer engagement
Everything today revolves around the customer. If you want a great business idea, ask the people. If you desire to improve your product, ask the people. If you want to know how people interact with your brand, look at the people. Small businesses can gather thorough feedback about every aspect of their business through engagement. Companies can do so through social media engagement and customer forums. Business reviews play a critical role in winning and retaining business. In return, they can use such intelligence to enhance their brand recognition and loyalty.
Cottage industries can free themselves up by using innovative information and business platforms. With multiple platforms online, a business stands a chance to increase its customer base, improve its operational costs and efficiency, and enhance overall profitability.