The Benefits Of Having An Online Store

October, 8, 2022

You may question what the hype is around online stores. Are they a passing fad, or valuable business tool that you should be using for your business?  Now that lockdowns are a thing of the past, do you need an online store?  How will it benefit your business?

Projections by analytics firms indicate that online store sales growth is expected to continue over the coming years. Morgan Stanley estimates that the market will increase from $3.3 trillion in 2022 to $5.4 trillion in 2026. Other analysts expect this figure to be over $7 trillion in 2026.

An online store can be an asset to your business, and today there are many eCommerce platforms available for taking your business online. The opportunities are boundless, and in this article, we will explain the benefits of having an online store.

What Are The Benefits Of Having An Online Store?

Whether you have a physical, brick-and-mortar store or not, an online store can still benefit you. That’s why most of the major retailers now have that as an additional offering. Having the online shopping experience available to potential customers gives them more ways of interacting with your brand and gives you a far wider reach. Missing out on potential sales can be detrimental to your business. What if your customers are in a small town, and your stores are in major centres only? 

With an online store, your customers can buy from you from anywhere – you could even open an international market for your products. You now have the potential to have a far wider reach than ever before.

Make Your Online Store Part Of Your Web Presence

It’s now very common for shoppers to search the internet for products before they buy – even if they are planning to purchase in-store. Searching the internet allows customers to both source products and find which stores are offering the best deals. Unless they are acquainted with your business, they may not know that you exist, until you appear in a Google search result. 

If you have a website, with an online store as part of your web presence, you now have new opportunities to make sales.

Start Selling Your Products To Clients – Quickly!

Your time to market decreases with an online store. One of the huge advantages of an online store is how quickly you can start selling your products to clients. You won’t have to look for premises, sign lengthy lease agreements or pay exorbitant amounts for shop fittings. You may pay a graphic designer to design your logo (which you would have needed to do anyway), and pay a photographer to style and photograph your products. You’ll perhaps also engage the services of a graphic designer or web developer to set up the right aesthetic for your store, but those are probably the total of your setup costs if you use an eCommerce platform.


The costs involved for an online store will vary, depending on the platform you select, but they will fall into the following broad categories:

  • Domain – This is the URL or web address of your website. An annual fee is charged for you to own and use that web address, normally by a service provider. Most eCommerce platforms will provide this service at a monthly or yearly fee
  • Hosting – Your website needs to be hosted on a server somewhere on the internet. This service is charged monthly by a service provider. The better eCommerce platforms, such as Letha Shop, will include this fee in their monthly subscriptions
  • Subscription – While a monthly subscription for an online store is not always applicable, one of the benefits of eCommerce platforms is that all the work is done for you so that you don’t need to pay any development fees. For that convenience, eCommerce platform providers typically charge a monthly subscription fee. Most eCommerce platform providers don’t work with a fixed contract, which gives you flexibility within your choices. If a particular platform does not serve your needs, you won’t be locked into a contract for months. You’ll be able to find the best eCommerce platform for your online store.
  • Payment gateway charges and commission – Payments in online stores are normally done via payment gateway providers. These are companies that have developed functionality to verify and process payments directly with the banks. They ensure that the correct amount of security is in place so that your customer’s payment details are protected. There are normally fees charged per transaction, which cover the banking fees and the payment gateway fees. It’s essential to use a reputable payment gateway that has the relevant security and financial compliance in place.
  • Marketing and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) – As you won’t have passing foot traffic, you’ll need to have a different approach to creating brand awareness. It’s a good idea to have a marketing budget in place and use it for either Google ads or social media ads. A good SEO strategy is also critical for your store to be found, and unless you have some SEO expertise, it’s advisable to pay an expert for these services.

Compared to a brick-and-mortar store, the running costs should be far less. If you do have a brick-and-mortar store, adding an online store should not break the bank.

An Online Store Is Always Open

One of the real benefits of an online store is that it’s always open for business. Customers can view your products, place an order, and pay for them at any hour of the day – perfect for those insomniacs or international buyers! Most eCommerce platforms will have automated processes that will acknowledge the order (normally an email sent to the customer). You, as the store owner, will also receive an automated notification of the order, so that when it’s the start of your working day, you are made aware of new orders so that you can start fulfilling them.

Access To Shopper Data and Behaviour

Good eCommerce platforms, together with tools like Google Analytics will give you access to information such as-: how many visitors came to your site and how many of those were new visitors vs returning visitors. What products they looked at, which products they added to the cart, and which resulted in a purchase. They also provide metrics like what products were added to the cart and which have not resulted in a purchase, as well as what point the customer canceled the order. 

All these details are available to you as an eCommerce store owner. This information is useful to you for decision-making and marketing. If, for example, a certain product is never looked at, or never added to cart, you can make decisions regarding that product like if the price right for your target market. Perhaps it’s too expensive, or too cheap. Perhaps the photos of the product are not appealing. 

When a customer completes a purchase, their contact details are captured – making it possible for you to retarget these customers in future marketing campaigns

With an online store, you have access to information to aid in your product development and marketing, in a way that you would never have with a physical store.

Automate Your Online Store

With an online store, you can take advantage of the automation built into eCommerce platforms. This automation may include email order confirmation, abandoned cart emails, and retargeting emails.

Good eCommerce platforms will help keep your clients updated with their order progress as you process the order. This helps to build trust in your store and your brand.

Marketplaces Vs. Your Own Online Store

Do you have the time and budget to market your brand? If not, an option may be to list your products on a marketplace, such as Takealot, Amazon, or Etsy, instead of opening an online store. This would give you the platform to showcase your products and allow you to take advantage of the marketplace’s marketing efforts.

The drawback with marketplaces is that their costs are generally far higher compared to an independent online store. You’ll also be competing with similar products on the marketplace and will not have the same opportunity for branding as you would have with your own online store. You also lose a lot of control with a marketplace – you will not have access to your customer list, and the marketplace can suspend your account at any time, leaving your store in limbo until the issue is resolved.

If you have the marketing budget, or already have a large customer base, opening your own online store will allow you to showcase your brand – you won’t share your online store with competing brands. You’ll own your customer database and have complete control of your store – you won’t be waiting for approval to load your products, and no one will shut your store down.

How To Choose The Best eCommerce Platform:

How do you choose which is the best eCommerce platform for your online store? There are a few factors to consider, such as:

  • How much technical ability do you have – can you build it yourself? Even if you have the technical ability, do you have the time?  Do you want to pay additional costs for a web developer to configure your store?
  • What are the costs involved? Does the eCommerce platform cost include hosting costs? What are the commission costs?
  • Is the eCommerce platform going to offer your customers a consistent experience with your brand?

Letha – Fast, Easy Online Stores.

Letha Local offers you an eCommerce platform for your online store. We can have you up and running in no time. Get your 14-day free trial and visit our website today to see how we can help you open your online store. 


Nicky Nielsen

Nicky Nielsen