As technology plays a big part in every aspect of people’s lives, it has been changing various consumer habits that affect how businesses are created. From the traditional brick and mortar shop, a number of entrepreneurs are leaning towards an online shop. The difference in convenience, upfront cost, and store management among others makes people choose one over the other. But is one really better over the other? The article sheds light on the topic.
Brick and mortar shop
This has been most common route entrepreneurs conduct business which dates back to the old days. It requires putting up an actual store which to this day costs a lot of money. Apart from renting or buying the space, setting up shop is an expensive venture. You have to find the right people to communicate your brand and product with how the store looks like.
One biggest consideration when it comes to a physical store is how to get the customers in to buy your products. If you have chosen a high foot traffic area like a mall then there is a good chance that people will casually walk in and out your store. However, what you need to remember is that rent in high traffic areas tends to be higher than other areas.
One thing shop owners have going for them is the fact that Vend shared how a number of innovative retail stores offering a great shopping experience are making a name for themselves. This is one of those instances where technology fuels more brick and mortar shops. However, a lot of business owners are feeling the pinch because of technology as well as it introduced online shops.
Convenience has been one of the main reasons why a lot of consumers are switching to online shopping in lieu of a going to a physical store. They do not have to dress up, drive, and look for parking to buy what they need. They simply have to go to their computers or even their mobile phones and the whole process from ordering to delivery is streamlined and all executed online.
From choosing the item people need, ordering, payment, all the way to delivery, online shops no doubt provides utmost shopping convenience to people. Add the fact that online goods tend to be cheaper and the customer may be able to get more for their hard earned money. This is a good news for business owners because the market is ripe as a lot of millennials are starting to dictate economic purchase. This is the generation that grew up with technology and is more comfortable making online purchases.
In fact, 9 News shares that The Catch Group launched Australia’s first online brand outlet store. This gives consumers the chance to get up to 70% discounts on a variety of brands. One reason why online stores can give huge discounts is that the cost of setting up shop is far less expensive compared to a physical store. A domain name, a hosting site, and an e-commerce platform and you can start selling online.
Online business owners can also look at drop shipping as one of the most convenient ways to start up an online shop. This approach helps them in automating their inventory distribution channels. As a result, this helps free to free up their time, save inventory storage space and saving money to spent elsewhere to grow their business. With delivery times so short, shopping online becomes exponentially more convenient, no doubt driving future demand for it too. And while we may think that it matters little for most of us, for people living in rural areas, small towns, or seeking products not available near their locations, this might become their preferred method of shopping.
However, online shopping also comes with risks, especially for consumers. The possibility of identity theft is still there because of hackers trying to steal personal information from people. Hackers tend to steal credit card information and other personal details to either open a new credit under someone else’s name or just sell the information to others.
Online, offline, or a bit of both?
So will online ever become the dominant platform in the future of retail? It depends. When thinking about this, we should pay careful attention to what kind of shopping we are talking about. If you think it’s all the same, think about your typical shopping experiences. There are many items you may enjoy purchasing, such as a car, an iPhone, ingredients for a special recipe, new furniture, or clothing items to see how you feel and interact with these products before you buy and see if they are right for you. But then there are items you don’t care for as much, such as toothpaste, generic spaghetti, or toilet paper. In the first case, in-shop experience may speak louder, while the purchasing of items in the second case might be more prone to automation. In fact, this how the industry seems to be developing.
When choosing between a brick and mortar shop as against an online store, you need to look at different factors. For one, you need to assess your start-up capital so you can determine which route you can take. You need to also have a clear understanding how your target market behaves. This gives you an idea if you can be more effective welcoming them in a physical store or simply selling online.