Because of the growing popularity of e-commerce, a fresh entrepreneur no longer needs to open a physical retail store. But this does not imply that there is no need for retail stores and that every online store will work successfully. When you are looking to open a store, you must weigh the product, your business goals and nature of your product to decide whether you need an online store or retail storefront for your small business. Here is a sample of the debate between online shopping vs. retail shopping.
Generally, opening a business as an e-commerce store is much cheaper than a retail storefront. As opposed to a retail store, you don’t need to pay any rent for store space or any utility bills associated with the stores except for technical support and web hosting. There is no need for you to decorate the store interior or buy signage for inside and outside. With an online store, most of the work can be managed by yourself, so you don’t have to hire extra employees. With regard to an online store, all your costs are linked directly to your website, accepting online payments and shipping. You have to pay for your domain name and to someone to develop your website and platform for e-commerce. This may be expensive but is much less costly than setting up a retail storefront.
As per study conducted by California Institute of Technology, consumers prefer to pay much more for products which they can view in person. In case of high value items, like cars, jewellery, high fashion apparel, antiques or furniture, consumers prefer to buy from retail storefronts. A higher profit margin can be garnered on individual items. Also, other than the price of items you wish to sell, you must consider the number of items which you will sell. For a business which sells a selected number of items, a retail storefront will work well but for selling a wide choice of products, an online store will work better.
All who wish to open a business must weigh the nature of competition before jumping in.In case of online business, the quantum of instant competition is much more than retail storefront. While opening a storefront, you can do an easy survey of the area and determine what other competing firms are retailing products like yours. You can open a store in a location where competing firms do not exist. In case of e-commerce, there are generally multiple businesses selling the product offered by you. Many of them are well established already making it tough for a start-up to break in and become successful. In case your product or service is not unique, a retail storefront will gain more success at attempting to earn more customers than trying to break into an online market which is already saturated.
One of the crucial components of beginning a retail business offline or online is building a customer base. As regards a retail business, the possible customer base is limited to the surrounding area. The online customer base is very much wide. After you open a retail store, you have limited options for attracting new customers. You are limited to the area of retail space which you have hired and changing signs, logos, and complete strategy of marketing. In case of online work, changing of logos and signs takes few minutes, and you can easily and quickly change the products you desire to sell.
These are some aspects about retail shopping vs online shopping