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Are all businesses destined to go from offline to online?

Discussion in 'Making Money' started by Stable Genius, Apr 30, 2020.

  1. LoungeMedia

    LoungeMedia Junior Member

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    most of the businesses are already online, and yes most businesses will also go to online in the future.
     
  2. ABCinSG

    ABCinSG Newbie

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    The current situation has made businesses consider (or already switch) to an online-only model, but I believe that there will be businesses that resist change.

    The issue with transitioning online at this point in time are the solutions offered, specific requirements and total cost.

    Current-gen solutions tend to be SaaS, which lowers the barrier of entry, sometimes significantly, at the cost of a % of revenue. While this alleviates the biggest hurdle of a business adopting their solution, the problem I have noticed:
    1) The solution tends to be too generic and does not meet all the requirements.
    2) Rigid monetization options
    3) The solution may require dependencies that cost even more.
    4) Adoption of the solution may require a significant investment of time to set up (e.g. data entry)
    5) Aftermarket Support

    It's largely based on cost, either financial or time. Other not software-related reasons:
    1) Consumer's preferences
    2) Industry norms


    To go a bit more in-depth:

    Generic Solutions
    I was recently looking for options on a booking system. I came across 10, 20 trustable to high-profile options, but none managed to tick all the boxes in my requirements. My requirements were not that unique to the industry, but there in itself lies the problem. There is no special magic bullet app/plugin/software that will work for everyone, and it needs to be customized. Most businesses do not have the technical know-how to code nor the personnel required to do so. This is where the SaaS cost suddenly jumps significantly; either outsource it or hire your own programmer. Both have their pros and cons, and both are not cheap.

    Rigid Monetization Options
    The monetization options of the provider tend to be rigid. Granted, we have come a long way from "Pay me xxx for this version.", but we are still stuck with:
    1) SaaS, monthly fee
    2) SaaS, revenue margins
    3) Major Release purchase
    4) Lifetime purchase

    1, 3 and 4 tend to be a huge barrier of entry, for both small and budding businesses. It's difficult to commit a huge chunk of their capital on software that seems to work well for others, but as mentioned earlier, will it for you? Trials do help alleviate some of the questions, but usually not all. Revenue margins is the most attractive option, however, aftermarket support tends to be an issue. More about this in the dedicated section. Maybe, instead of offering these and only these options, the provider could be a little more flexible?

    Dependencies
    Other than the provider's own support, and the high likelihood of having to outsource a programmer/business to help you get the software looking how you want it, there's the dependencies required for full functionality. For example, if I wanted to do a mass mailing on many SaaS options, I'd have to sign up for another SaaS like MailChimp. Depending on the solution given to the business, they could easily have to sign up for 2-3 other SaaS for full functionality. While I personally understand why the developers choose to integrate existing solutions into their own, these can be hidden (or at least semi-hidden) costs the business isn't aware of from the beginning. Finding out later they have to sign up for another service can be a make or break decision.

    Adoption
    Getting the solution is ultimately, even with all the above considerations, the easy part. The hard part of data entry comes into play, and is extremely time-consuming, proportionate to the business inventory/database size. Import tools help, but generally only help the business get started and save a bit of time. The time and effort requirement may be too much.

    Aftermarket Support
    Usually, this pertains only to the software provided. Nothing else. If you try to deviate slightly from how it's intended to use (in a very generic way, no less), any custom features and/or deviation from the software's operation flow means you are alone with software you can't do much with, all with little recourse.

    Some of these problems can be avoided by knowing exactly what you want, but frankly, I don't think many do. Because, unless the person looking for the solution is technically inclined himself, he may know what is required of the solution, but that doesn't necessarily translate to what is required in a technical sense. With that, it becomes a painful process of trial and error on different solutions until he either gives up, or just settles for a sub-par solution.

    Consumer Preferences
    Speaking from anecdotal experiences, there are some things customers (or a specific demographic of customers) want to see, touch, feel, try on or even taste. For example, fruits, vegetables and cuts of meat are usually sold by weight online. I could get 5 apples that weigh 100g each online, but I can't inspect it, or sniff it, to know if it's ripe, nor if it's over-ripe and rot is starting to set in. Same for vegetables. For meat, perhaps I'd like a specific fat percentage, or just see if the marbling of the piece of steak is ideal.

    Likewise, even for garments, not all medium-sized t-shirts are alike. While there is at least 1 major online t-shirt retailer specializing in custom prints that is doing well, I personally would prefer to walk into a shop and try it out. Returns are great, for example, there is a business that provides a free exchange of helmets if they don't fit. However that is additional cost and logistics a smaller business may not have, and the customer will have to wait.

    Spur-of-the-moment purchases tend to be more visceral and effective when the product is in front of the customer too. By placing the product in front of the customer, no number of pictures, videos, or slow-loading 360 plugins will be able to match. Assuming your product is that good, of course. This takes away the feeling of doubt. As someone who make plenty of online purchases, there are still times where I doubt the quality of the product I receive, and also times where I'm surprised at the products scale and quality in person.

    Industry Norms
    Lastly, and perhaps equal in significance but with mentioning, is industry norms. There are industries out there that do well with brick & mortar and see no reason to switch. Because no one else (in their industry) is doing it, so why should they take the first step into the unknown, especially with preliminary research they see so many hurdles?

    Closing Thoughts
    As the world progresses and tries to put everything online for even more convenience than before, there are some businesses that will not be able to change due to the nature of their business. Those that can and don't however, may just fade into obscurity because their competition did invest into moving online. But perhaps it's not stubbornness that keep them in their ways, but more of circumstances. Maybe we can figure out a way to help them, and make it mutually beneficial?
     
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  3. Stable Genius

    Stable Genius Regular Member

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    @ABCinSG thanks for posting lah ;)

    All service type business that can provide digital service over physical will switch. SaaS will dominate from existing players and new smaller solutions for different niches.

    Another thing I just thought of is the fact that some services will be automated. Right now I'm trying to get my US passport photo done and have to goto old ways of getting it done @ pharmacy. Problem is pharmacies don't offer this service now because of coronavirus and I have to wait until they will offer it (they use store clerk that takes photo with digital camera and prints out using their printer). In some places that have kiosk machines where you deposit money, machine takes few pictures of you, you select one you like and it prints it out for you. We don't have them in NYC or at least I haven't seen them yet. Last year I was in SG and had to get last minute photo for visa for another country and was told that Dhoby Ghaut subway station has a kiosk that can do it and I went there and got it done in 3 mins. My other option would be to look for photo studio or place that still takes pictures the old brick and mortar way.
     
  4. coolbreez

    coolbreez Regular Member

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    Remote businesses existed before the internet was even a thing. It was in the form of catalogues but the idea was the same. Instead of visiting a website and ordering it was done by mail/phone and could be paid by cheque or some money order. These things have their cycles.

    It's difficult to answer if any business can truly operate exclusively in an offline-capacity as some of the payment methods may involve being online. Businesses which are primarily offline, such as the transport, sports, and local market stores could be forced to be card only/cryptocurrency at any time by the government in the future and these connect to an online server.
     
  5. troy23

    troy23 Junior Member

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    No I think everything will be replaced by robots.
    Everything evolved...first desktop apps, then web based stuff and now mobile apps.
    The next stage is robots and it's already started in many countries.
     
  6. LinksForPros

    LinksForPros Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    tl;dr? Also looks like a lounge thread, "do you think"/ less "making money"
     
  7. artloopdigital

    artloopdigital Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    All the business cannot be operate online.
     
  8. Sunmoluvic

    Sunmoluvic Junior Member

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    With time, all business would be forced to go online
     
  9. Inca6

    Inca6 Registered Member

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    It depends on the nature of service.
    If you want to build a house, you have to go to the market to examine the quality of building material and cost of labor.
    If i am correct, please respond me.
    Best regards.
     
  10. AceDirect

    AceDirect Junior Member

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    No there will always be some businesses that will be purely offline