Online shopping is not new! It has been around for the past few years, even before the COVID pandemic hit. However, the demand for online shopping was not as much as the demand for products sold at brick-and-mortar stores. People felt quite comfortable walking down the street to find a local grocery store or a footwear showroom.
One of the new standards that COVID has set for small and large-scale businesses is the increasing demand for online shopping. During the pandemic, a large number of store owners took their business to a digital level by enhancing their online presence and introducing their brand to the digital world.
Now that governments around the world are easing restrictions and brick-and-mortar stores are reopening, people are wondering how they should proceed with their businesses. Those who have established in-person stores will find it easier to resume their operations, but what about those who are planning to get started with a new business idea? Should they launch an online eCommerce store or open a traditional brick-and-mortar shop? Which one will be more profitable?
eCommerce sales saw a growth of 32.1% last year, growing to $206.66 billion in 2020, according to the US Census Bureau News. The growth in online shopping has been phenomenal, but that doesn’t mean customers have abandoned in-store shopping.
Many companies still rely on traditional brick-and-mortar stores to grow their businesses and build their reputation in the market. In fact, they adapt to innovative marketing strategies to grow their retail business. For example, more businesses are embracing card machines for payments and HR software for recruitment.
The major advantage of traditional shopping is that it gives consumers a chance to interact with the products personally or check them for quality before making a purchase.
This is really important for perishable items that need to be checked for freshness and quality. People are generally more comfortable walking into a physical store and asking questions about the product to the sales representatives directly. The best part is that customers do not have to wait for shipping, and neither do they have to pay the extra shipping cost. This makes traditional shopping more convenient than online shopping in some respects.
Whether you are a small business owner planning to open a store in a new area or you are launching your startup, brick-and-mortar stores make a good option. This business model helps you draw attention from your local customers.
However, there are also a few drawbacks of traditional brick-and-mortar stores. It goes without saying that traditional stores can cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars in initial capital. You can take out a loan for starting a new business, but this will mean you are burdened with unnecessary debt.
Additionally, a traditional store needs employees, especially if you are planning to open a big store with multiple departments. So, the brick-and-mortar setting works for those who have the capital to fund the physical set-up cost, but not so well for others.
Online shopping has become a go-to option for jewellery, clothes, and many more products. Even perishable items are now available to be purchased online. Who wouldn’t want to order products online and have them delivered to their doorstep?
Here are a few reasons why you should consider launching an online store:
- You can market your product to a wider audience. It’s easier to promote your products and services to a larger audience with an online store as there are no geographical restrictions.
- Online shopping is in high demand due to the level of convenience it offers and the amount of time it saves for your customers.
- You won’t need much capital, as you don’t need to pay physical set-up costs.
- There is a high potential for growth and earnings.
People love the idea of being able to shop from anywhere and at any time. They no longer need to visit physical stores, wait in long queues, and visit different departments to find the product they’re looking for. Online shopping has made it much easier for customers to shop online and have products delivered to their address. Most importantly, online shopping is safe (not only for customers but for retailers and employees too).
If you decide to launch an eCommerce store, there are many digital channels you can use to promote your brand to your target audience. Social media is the cheapest and fastest way to introduce your brand to a large audience. SEO, SEM, and SMM are the most popular digital marketing tools that can help you spread brand awareness and build a solid customer base in no time.
There is one thing to bear in mind; all these channels require outstanding visuals – product photos and videos are the keys to successful online commerce, regardless of the product. If your customers cannot physically handle your products, then they need the next best thing – to be able to see them and examine them almost as if they had them in hand. Without first-class visuals, your eCommerce venture is at a huge disadvantage. You can find great information here on creating top visuals for eCommerce, as well as a fantastic free trial offer for 360 product video.
Both online and brick-and-mortar stores can help you to build a successful business. However, for those who are starting their business, an online store makes a good choice as it requires minimal capital. Later, you can invest in a brick-and-mortar store to expand your business on a local level.