Canada’s sizeable digital population has made it a particularly profitable e-commerce market in recent years, with revenues expected to surpass USD $33 billion by 2024 (up from just over $25 billion in 2019).
As part of that profit potential, making the decision to forego a physical location in favour of selling your products or services online comes with all manner of operational benefits.
Here are 5 of the best reasons to launch your startup as a virtual business.
1. Virtual startups are relatively simple to launch.
Compared with brick-and-mortar businesses that must find, set up, staff, and commit to a physical location, it’s relatively simple to launch a virtual startup.
- User-friendly platforms, like Shopify for example, make it easy to open (or close) a fully-functioning e-commerce store
- Drag-and-drop website builders let you quickly showcase your services without any programming knowledge
- Digital tools of all types simplify tasks like taking payments, managing inventory, and arranging deliveries online
By granting every business equal access, the internet also helps level the playing field in terms of your competing with other startups.
2. Online companies cost less to get up and running.
It typically costs less to launch a startup online than it does to get a traditional business up and running.
- You won’t need to rent, lease, or purchase commercial space for an office or shop
- You won’t have to pay for furnishings, product shelving, signage, or customer-facing personnel
- You won’t even need to cover the cost of inventory upfront if you take advantage of drop-shipping or third-party product providers
Plus, if you run your virtual startup from home, you may be able to claim a portion of the expenses you’re already paying (like rent, insurance, or your internet connection) as a business tax deduction.
3. Virtual businesses are easier to run and scale.
Running a virtual business means you can automate repetitive, time-consuming processes like order generation and email correspondence. And since your doors will be open 24/7, you’ll find it easier to grow your customer base globally.
Moreover, not only is it entirely feasible to build a thriving business online without hiring and managing staff (by outsourcing short-term or intermittent duties, for example), if you do require permanent help, you can choose from a talented pool of virtual prospects in a variety of strategic, geographic locations.
4. Going virtual lets you reach more customers.
As opposed to conducting business during store or office hours only, operating virtually lets you connect with and service customers around the clock—no matter where they’re located.
In addition to this convenience, digital interactions:
- Elevate the buying experience via apps and chatbots that let prospects view and manipulate products, or ask simple questions online, in real time
- Are less intrusive, since shoppers don’t have to communicate with personnel unless, or until, they want to
At the same time, you can easily customize and personalize your interactions through the collection of customer data.
5. Online data paves the way to greater success.
Running a virtual startup lets you utilize information about your customers to solidify your relationships with them.
With the help of web analytics services (like Google Analytics, for example), you can determine:
- Where your buyers come from and how they navigate your site
- Which of your products or services are viewed or purchased most often
- What website pages, promotions, forms, or CTAs generate the best results in terms of prospects and sales
Unlike their largely anonymous, in-person counterparts, digital browsers and buyers leave a distinct footprint that you can use to create targeted marketing or sales campaigns.
And with 59% of consumers anticipating they’ll shop online more than they already are, there may never be a better time to launch your startup business virtually.