Online Vs Offline Retail: What is the Right Choice for Your Business?

You might be the owner of a brick and mortar store and have a thriving business in the heart of the city. But when you start hearing about ecommerce trends and how people are making the presence of their business at a global level, you start contemplating as to whether you should jump in the ecommerce bandwagon or not. Well, it can be quite difficult to choose between the two looking into the fact that it entirely changes the ways in which you interact with your customers and undertake marketing activities for your products and services.

 

Although the online retail space is growing by leaps and bounds, there are many who still prefer to shop from a brick and mortar store. So the choice you make depends on the type of business you have and the products you offer. Through this article, we will provide you with the pros and cons of both online and offline business so that you can make the right choice for yourself:

Benefits of having an online store

The first and the biggest benefit of having an ecommerce store is that you can save on your start up costs and do not have to spend as much as you would spend on buying a physical space for your business. Also, there is less capital investment involved and you can start selling your products at the earliest.

 

The customers these days like to buy from the comforts of their home as they can browse at their convenience and keep away from sales pressure. Moreover, it is quite appealing to them when the products of their choice are delivered at their doorstep within the dates suitable to them. As you can track the visits and interactions of different customers with your store, you can enhance your marketing efforts which can prove to be difficult to figure out if you have a physical store.

Drawbacks of an online store

Although it is easy to set up an online store as compared to a physical one, drawing customers to your online store is the most difficult task. You might need to have an experienced marketing and SEO team so that they can work continually to make your website rank high on search engines. Putting in the marketing efforts in the right direction will let your customers know about the presence of your brand and they will be interested in buying from you. It is important to send across a message that you are a trustworthy and reliable brand.

 

Benefits of having an offline store

For years, offline retail has established its place as the most popular shopping medium for customers. An offline store renders you with the advantage of passing trade without marketing your products everyday. In addition, you can advertise your brand more creatively and offer hands-on shopping experience to the customers. If you set up your store in the right area and amongst the right audiences, word of mouth promotion will help you to make your presence felt locally. There can’t be a better way than a physical store to express the vision and motives of your business and target new markets!

Drawbacks of an offline store

The brick and mortar stores have a lot of expenses to take care of right from the money spent behind setting up the store to paying rental fee, water and electricity bills and other expenses that incur at regular intervals. If the financial investment is not planned in advance, it is quite likely that you will fall short of funds.

 

Location is yet another aspect that can make or break your business no matter how good your products are. Also, you can’t have any control over your competitors. If a similar store opens up in your neighbourhood and it has a USP that you don’t, it might influence your customers sending them to your competitors.

How About Having Both Online and Offline Presence?

After reading the pros and cons of online and offline retail, you might get confused. But wouldn’t it be great if you can operate both online and offline?! A research study by Mu Sigma proved that nearly 85% of consumers prefer to have a unified experience across offline and online markets for different brands. However, only 30% of them get it. So it’s high time entrepreneurs start thinking about establishing their business on both the platforms.

The future of Omni-channel

Beacons are here to communicate with the devices of the customers through Bluetooth technology and let them know about the latest discounts and offers while they walk past your store. The digital POS systems are now providing retailers with the data that was exclusive to ecommerce owners.

 

Upcoming years are sure to witness an Omni channel future as customers can communicate with retailers through both physical and digital mediums. Options like “Buy online and pick up from the store” are being given by brands like Starbucks, Best Buy and Macys. This way, customers can obtain product information online and retailers can meet with their expectations by using a multi-channel approach.

 

Now that you have known that online retailers can move to physical stores and vice versa, what have you decided to go for? Share your thoughts with us.

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