When you are starting a business, you have two options for the setup – a physical store or an online marketplace. The first one is doing things the old-fashioned way, and the latter one is a more advanced method of running a store. However, both are effective for building a fortune in their respective ways.
So, which one should you go for? It depends on a number of conditions like budget, feasibility, business type, and more.
In the case of an online business, you also need a reliable and fast internet connection to monitor your shop, provide customer support, and manage everything. You can click here to view our recommended internet package from a trustworthy service provider like Altice.
The following is a brief comparison between both options, so you can easily decide on one by the end of the article. Let’s get started!
Why Does Comparison Matter?
It is essential to understand the difference between both because of the following reasons.
- Type of Product or Service: The first main differentiating factor between the two is the type of product or service included. For example, services like getting a haircut or a treatment need your physical presence, but digital marketing services don’t and can work remotely. The same goes for different products, as you can buy apparel and footwear online but not home accessories or sanitary items. So, make the decision according to the product or service.
- Available Resources: Another major factor is the quantity and quality of resources, as setting up a physical store is expensive compared to an online business. For example, suppose you have a shoe to sell – in online work, you have to take a few good pictures and upload them on your store under new arrivals. On the other hand, if you don’t have the appropriate skills and experience for online selling, your shoe may never get sold, whereas, in a brick-and-mortar store, the product eventually gets sold.
- Target Audience: The customers are the heart and soul of every business. However, most people like to shop in a physical store as it builds a direct consumer-brand relationship. Also, the customer can present any queries or concerns regarding the product or service and get immediate answers. Still, items like books, music, movies, games, marketing services, bookings, and many others are what many people prefer to purchase online.
Now that you know why the comparison matters, it is time to move on to learn the pros and cons of both.
Brick and Mortar Store
First, let’s read about the benefits and drawbacks of a brick-and-mortar store.
- Customer Loyalty: A personal experience is always more engaging to the customer and provides more satisfaction. Moreover, it builds a customer-brand relationship, and the customer is more likely to return.
- More Satisfaction: When you look at the product before you, you can check how it looks, feels, and the quality of the material. And most clothing, footwear, and accessories brands offer try-on in shops, which helps make a comfortable decision.
- Better After-Sale Services: When you know about the shop where you bought the item, you can conveniently take it back if it’s faulty or has issues. Moreover, if you have any questions before you buy, a customer representative will be there to attend to your needs. On the other hand, an online store is less likely to offer you such benefits.
- High Cost: It is not easy to set up a brick-and-mortar store as it can get expensive. You will need to set up the whole shop with additional items for checking, printing receipts, holding cash, and much more. Also, you have to cover transportation, bills, and other assets you might need.
- Expensive Maintenance: It doesn’t work if you open a store and leave it be. For an optimum customer experience, you must maintain the store and look after its appearance. The customer will only walk in if they feel welcomed.
- Online Presence is Necessary: Even if you have a fully-fledged store running and generating profits, you still need an online presence in today’s age and time. You should not underestimate the power of the internet, as it can bring in new sales or put your name on the radar.
Now, let’s move over to the benefits and drawbacks of an online store.
- Bigger Audience: In the online marketplace, you have the whole world in front, and you are swimming in the same waters as the industry giants. However, there is a large variety of audiences across multiple platforms, and with the right marketing and promotions, your product can be the one they click on.
- Cheaper Overall: With online shopping, you don’t have to cover overhead costs like employees’ salaries, bills, and transportation. So, this actually cuts down the price of the product or service.
- Easier Marketing: In an online business, all marketing and promotion are done through digital marketing. And digital marketing can be the most cost-effective form of advertising and effective at generating sales simultaneously.
- Low Customer Loyalty: Although you get more customers online, not all of them will return as if they find something cheaper somewhere else; they will switch. Also, you can’t provide a more personalized experience to the customer, which decreases engagement.
- Cyber Security Issues: When you are online, your security and privacy are at risk. And cybersecurity is one of the top concerns these days. Cybercriminals can hack your store or steal confidential details, all without you even knowing.
- Complicated After-Order Process: In online business, returning items and shipping can be a hassle. For a return, you must go follow the process of filing a complaint, expecting a call, sending the package, and waiting for the return. And with shipping, many people don’t like to pay high shipping costs or wait a long time. Both of these can decrease sales drastically.
So, as we saw, both types of stores have pros and cons, and it all comes down to individual needs. We have put forward a general idea for everyone to read, understand, and make the final decision with full confidence. Which one should you go for? That is for you to decide.