The Pros and Cons of Running an Online Business

These days, it seems like everyone and their dog is making money off the internet. Not a day goes by that you don’t hear of some new person making a boatload of cash from their new online store, so it’s quite natural that you might want to get in on the action as well. There are plenty of resources online that can help you get started, but you do need to learn about the pros and cons of the various online business models to see which one is best suited to your ideas and needs. In this article, we will compare and contrast the three most popular options online.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a method by which you, as an affiliate, partner with a producer to promote a product and earn a commission based on the number of units sold that you have directly influenced. If you’ve ever watched a YouTube video in the last few years, or interacted with an Instagram post where you’ve been encouraged to use “Promo Code XXX to get XXX off next purchase”, then you know exactly how affiliate marketing functions.

When done correctly, affiliate marketing is a very lucrative moneymaker that requires very little to no initial investment. You don’t even need your own website, since you can easily use free blog websites or social media to promote your products. Furthermore, you don’t need to dedicate any time or resources to designing a product of your own. All you need to do is simply pick something that you feel consumers will buy and promote it. Affiliate marketing is also very flexible; you can run your business from the beach, your bed – wherever you feel most comfortable.

However, there are a couple of downsides to affiliate marketing. The biggest is that the commissions you can earn vary between products and profit margins are usually slim, meaning that to be successful, one needs to generate large numbers of sales or go for high margin products. Another con is that affiliate marketing requires patience; no one ever gets rich overnight. You need to build up a following, have large numbers of people who regularly see your work, whether it be blog posts, posts on social media etc.

Moving on,

eCommerce / Dropshipping

Running your own eshop is another popular way to make money online, and the method comes with a swathe of benefits over going the traditional route of a brick and mortar shop. If you sell online, through one of the many different eCommerce platforms like Amazon, eBay and the like, you can reach a much larger audience, sometimes even an international one. Anyone, anywhere can click a link and land on your page, see what you are selling and be inspired to buy. Setting up an eshop is also simple and inexpensive. Web companies like Linkeo Ltd, through their Deliver By Linkeo program, will provide you with templates and guidance in creating a store, all one needs to do is pay for a domain name and you are good to go.

If you don’t want to go through the trouble of making your own site, there is always dropshipping, where you can promote and sell products without spending anything.

However, there are some cons to this method as well. Setting up an online store is easy. Choosing the right products to sell is not. Competition is high, which makes it difficult for beginners to break into the market. Finding a niche market to corner can be helpful, but even then, there are no guarantees that you will see the sales levels you expect right out the gate, if ever. Another thing to remember, especially if you are relying on an overseas supplier, is that you might not always be able to guarantee the quality of the product. This can result in you ordering numerous amounts of a faulty item, or worse, a customer receiving faulty items and requesting a refund – meaning you would then lose money due to shipping fees.

Fulfillment by Amazon

Have you ever heard of this one? Basically, this is a system that was set up by Amazon, where you can rent out space in their giant warehouses to store your products for a small fee, and once you sell the product, they will take care of shipping it out for you, again for a small fee. The advantages of this system are quite apparent. As the largest worldwide online retailer, Amazon sets the standards for shipping times, as well as having the best warehouses in the world. Your items will be subject to Amazon’s careful storage regulations, ensuring safety and insurance in the unlikely event of product destruction.

However, this method also has some big drawbacks. The first is cost, obviously. For one thing, having lots of physical stock in one place is potentially a great way to lose money. If you purchase 1000 units of something and then are unable to sell, you are not only going to be losing money from the initial purchase but are now also going to be losing money due to Amazon’s storage fees, which whilst being cheap, are going to quickly add up over time. Another is the fact that Amazon tends to store several of the same types of items together. So, if a client orders your item, there is a slight chance that they may receive a different item from the one they ordered.

At the end of the day, each of these systems might have its pros and cons, but they have proven to be extremely effective overall. All you need to do is pick the right strategy for you, make sure it is something you are going to enjoy doing regularly over the weeks and months that it will take you to hopefully be successful.

How The Current Pandemic Has Changed Australia’s Eating Habits

The current global pandemic has had quite an impact on the way Australian shoppers buy fresh food, which has also led to some exciting new opportunities for all primary producers. According to several experts, deeply ingrained shopping habits are being left on the wayside, and savvy farmers can stand to take advantage.

Before the current situation, online shopping amounted to roughly three percent of all groceries purchased, but that number has more than quintupled in the last year, which is excellent news for farmers that have taken to selling their produce directly, or through other internet platforms.

There used to be several barriers to people really adopting online purchasing as a viable option, which the Covid-19 pandemic, in essence, has forced customers to overcome. These include the preference for smelling, touching and feeling produce before buying it, as well as the reluctance to learning how to use online purchasing and delivery platforms and giving over credit or debit card details.

Another significant change that was brought about by the lockdowns and social distancing practices is the shift in shopping patterns. Since people were discouraged from going out, the previous patterns of multiple shopping trips each week, ended up pretty much consolidated into one. Also, consumers began dusting off their old cookbooks and preparing meals at home.

Current anecdotal evidence shows a sharp increase in online shopping, particularly after the major supermarkets temporarily suspended deliveries. This gap was filled by the smaller, independent operators who appear to have emerged as the real winners of this whole crisis. As we’ve stated before, there is an excellent opportunity for primary producers to bypass conventional retail channels. For those who believe that we will revert back to our old habits once life goes back to normal, there is evidence to the contrary. Take for example the arrival of Aldi into Australia, at a time when the economy was weak. Commentators said everyone would abandon Aldi during the subsequent upturn in the economy – nobody did, because people stuck with what they had come to know and appreciate.

While many larger producers are contracted to the big chains, there are many smaller, intermediate players who can do more to promote themselves as retailers. We could also see an increase in co-operatives, based on geography or product categories.

Retail Adaptation

Reports released by international data and analytics company GlobalData shows that retailers were starting to adapt delivery and returns policies, to ensure customer and staff safety, during the COVID-19 crisis. These changes transformed consumer expectations of online delivery and returns.

Also, the impacts of COVID-19 have the potential to decrease the popularity of click & collect beyond the outbreak as more people are expected to work from home in the long term, so will be able to accept home deliveries. There are further concerns that when stores re-open, many consumers will be reluctant to visit busy locations due to lingering concerns around their health.

What this will lead to is a switch to third-party pickup options instead, especially lockers as this fulfilment method has no contact with others, as long as shoppers are reassured about the cleanliness of the facilities.

Fresh fruit and vegetables are vital for keeping our bodies healthy – and during the coronavirus pandemic, it’s even more important, as these colourful foods can boost our immune systems too. As a primary producer, farmers stand to make a significant improvement to their profit margins by embracing the many online options to allow them to interact directly with their clients. Thanks to Deliver by Linkeo, you have the chance to work with a passionate team of experts that are driven to take your business to the next level. Get in touch with them today.

How Social Media and the Internet can Contribute to Your Butcher Shop’s Success

There are many advantages that a local butcher shop has over their larger grocery store competition, but one area where they continue to lag behind is in the marketing sphere. After all, no sane person would choose to forgo the personal service, hand-trimmed meat cut to order if they were given a choice, but the unfortunate fact is that some people don’t even know if they have a local butcher’s shop, or where it is. However, most people know where their local supermarket it, and how to get there to pick up their lesser quality, mass-marketed cuts of meat.

If you’re running a butcher’s shop, and you feel ready to take the next step, read on to find out how you can turn your personal connections with your suppliers as well as your higher quality and better-tasting meats, and turn them into ‘beefier’ selling points with the right approach to advertising.

In this day and age, almost all businesses have some sort of online presence, whether it be through a website, Facebook page, Twitter account or, in more forward-thinking cases, Discord server. Adopting these platforms for your own butcher shop will allow you to promote your products, share news and special events and also interact, inform and engage with your customers and the local community. By demonstrating your extensive knowledge and excellent customer service skills through regular blog posts offering tips and recipes, in addition to interacting with the wider community by getting involved and giving gift certificates as prizes at local events and sharing community news, you will build awareness in the minds of your target audience – and likely see a rapid rise in the number of customers you have. This can also funnel back to your online presence as everyday visitors flock to share content, express their opinions and experiences, and post photos on your social media pages.

Let’s now look at the 3 major social media platforms that you can use to increase your brand image, and what each platform is great at, starting with

Facebook

With over a billion daily active users, there’s a high chance that many of your clients are already on there, so you have a good chance of quickly building an audience. Facebook is known for being compatible with almost any type of multimedia content meaning you can post videos, photos, and links to external content, allowing it to enhance and support your other online marketing efforts such as blog posts.

Twitter

Looking to create an instant buzz? Why not use the many hashtags that Twitter has at its disposal to set up a real-time public information network that gives your business greater exposure in web search results and makes it easy to build a community of potential customers who are there to discover and share interesting content. Twitter Hashtags categorize topics and discussions so users can quickly and easily connect with businesses and individuals with a common interest. Additionally, they can be used as keywords to help easily find and connect with your target audience. Examples include #NationalHamburgerDay (May 28th), #NationalButchersWeek (13-19 March) and generic hashtags such as #ShopLocal.

Blogs

Where blogging can really shine for a local butcher’s shop is by in improving search engine rankings and boosting industry perception placing you as an authority in your sector. By regularly updating your corporate blog with valuable, interesting, engaging and relevant analysis and comment, it shows that you have a deep interest in your sector and are more informed than the average participant; giving potential clients a compelling reason to choose you over competitors.

With Deliver by Linkeo, you can benefit from expert advice on how to capitalize on all the online tools at your disposal, as well as create an online shopfront for your business. Get in touch with us to learn more.