Let's Get Physical: Benefits Of Taking An Online Store Offline
When you look at many high streets these days, it can be a borderline depressing sight. Closed shops, expensive business rates, more people buying online - there’s every chance you are thinking setting up a physical store is a sign of madness.
But is it? The truth is that having a physical store has a vast array of benefits. And in today’s guide, we’re going to go through some of the major reasons why opening a shop may not be as foolhardy as you might think, and how it can actually improve your business by a significant amount. Let’s get started.
A stronger customer base
First and foremost, online consumers are renowned for their ability to flit quite happily between retailers. Often, price dictates what they will buy, and if it’s cheaper at one of your bigger online rivals, the likelihood is that they will buy it from them. It’s not impossible to build loyalty online, but the reality is you have a much better shot of doing it in a physical store. People like talking to other people - not computers or algorithms - and that’s why there will always be an opportunity for physical retailers to build a robust and fruitful customer base in their community.
A chance to impress
You can spend a fortune on building a website, but, ultimately, no online retail store has what you might call a ‘wow factor.’ It’s different in the real world, however, and you can offer your customers much more of an experience than you can with a single ecommerce enterprise. You can look into striking store designs and create somewhere that people love to go to. You might consider offering different services in store to tempt people to stick around - a coffee booth, for example, or special one-off events. And also, you get to show off your knowledge you have of your industry. Being the leading authority on a subject in your community is a lot easier than doing the same online, where you are up against the entire world.
As long as you choose your location wisely, setting up a retail store in a high street or town centre is a lot less competitive than doing the same online. As we mentioned above, the world is your rival when you have an ecommerce store, and physical retailers can often be the only place in a specific community that sells a particular item. Online saturation is a very real danger to your business, and it only takes 5-10 companies to make the decision to sell the same products, and you could lose serious market share. A shop, however, has the chance to corner the market in that area, and be the go-to place for anyone wanting those products and services.
Part of the reason that so many high street shops have failed in the past decade or so is that they didn't see the Internet revolution coming. Every single one of these retailers worked to an old and dying business model, and they just couldn’t make the leap from being a physical store to a multi-channel business. It’s different, now, though - especially if you are already moving from an online environment. You already have the safety net of a successful online business, and as long as you plan your finances well, there is less risk involved than you might think.
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