It feels like the automatic response right now, that almost everyone has to economic lockdowns and radical transactional restrictions, is to suggest that all businesses should automatically go online.

"Open an e-commerce site", is the resounding call to all.

But before you pull the trigger on building a brand new digital channel - might I offer you the alternative perspective that perhaps taking your business online might not be such a great idea?

  1. It's bloody expensive: Digital might sound super cheap, but building a proper e-commerce site / digital platform is hellava pricey. Don't be fooled into thinking that this is a cost effective option - it's certainly not.
  2. It requires complex logistics: I've been intimately involved with some of the best e-commerce players in the country; trust me when I say that great service delivery online requires 'weapons-grade' logistics. Making this work well is not for amateurs.
  3. The margins are thinner: Selling something from a physical store is far more profitable than selling something via the complex web of interactions that a digital channel relies on.  
  4. It's tough to brand the experience: When a customer walks into your physical shop, you can design and deliver a bespoke customer experience that you control. That control disappears in an online environment where you rely on external service providers to fulfil many of your service deliverables.
  5. It's like running a separate business: Doing online right means that you need to spend a lot of time developing your site, your range, your brand, your image online. It requires focus and constant tending and care. This is effectively a whole new business that requires the skills and attention of a dedicated team.

Perhaps branching out into a digital environment is a great option for the future of your business, but be aware that it's certainly not for all businesses.

Sure explore the option and ask a lot of questions of the opportunity in a digital strategy, but always keep the not-for-us door open while you do it.