In this post, I will compare, contrast and analyze between a traditional and an online store. The information provided should be relevant for anyone who is thinking about starting a new business store and has little idea on whether to choose a traditional retail store or an online e-commerce store. Starting up a new business venture can be very challenging, especially if you don’t have any business experience. In the 21st century we have many opportunities to start any kind of business especially with the improvements of the Internet and the World Wide Web.
Deciding whether to start a physical store or an online store could be a challenging dilemma. The choice you make could either lead your business to success or failure. So, you need to look at things at a broader perspective. After analyzing the two, I will aid you in deciding which option best suits your new store. You will have a clear picture of whether it is more facile or more profitable to run an online store or a traditional retail store or maybe even the combination of both depending on the product you want to sell.
There are certain things you should put into consideration to make the ideal choice. A traditional store is a physical store where you can go to and buy things directly and take it with you. The store typically has the tangible product for the customer to feel, test and know which material the item was made with. An online clothing store on the contrary, is a virtual store hosted on the World Wide Web where photos of items are posted and arranged on different categories. On an online store, you don’t have the opportunity to feel or touch the product before purchasing and your items will shipped based on the address provided.
Now let’s look at several things that you need to put into consideration: Start-up Cost, Scope, Store Availability, Inventory, Convenience, Competition, Marketing and Demography.
Comparing the two based on cost, starting and operating an online store is cheaper than starting a traditional retail store. On an online store, there is no rent to pay, except paying for hosting and a domain name registration. With an online store you don’t need hiring many people to manage the day-to-day operation of the store, in most cases you can manage the work for yourself. You may need to hire a Web Developer to build a comprehensive e-commerce platform for you. This maybe expensive, but less expensive compare to starting a traditional retail store.
Looking at convenience, people appear to find it a lot easier to shop online today. That is because they can sit at the comfort of their homes and use their smartphone with just few clicks and buy from your store. It is easier for your customers to browse for items by searching, filtering or sorting to find exactly what they are looking for. Customers can easily compare the prices no matter how many items are in your store or include an item to a wish list that can be bought later. A retail store with many items could be difficult to pinpoint exactly what you’re looking for, or there may not be enough space to keep all your items.
When it comes to greater reach, one substantial advantage an online store has over a traditional retail store is, your store can be reached by people all over the interconnected Internet. Customers can reach or buy items from any part of the world. With a traditional retail store, your reach is limited to a small surrounding.
Another thing you need to look at is, the availability of the store, an online store is available for shopping 24/7. Customers can shop at any time, even while you are sleeping. Auto response emails can be setup for new customer registration or order. There is no opening and closing hours like traditional retail stores.
Understanding the demography of a certain location should support you in your decision-making, you need to identify your customers. For an offline store, you will try to gather demographic information of the location you are planning to run your retail store. For an online store you will need to do a thorough research on how online shoppers interact with an e-commerce website and how you can ease shipping for your potential customers.
Anyone building up a business should look at the competition among other businesses of the same kind. There is a good deal of online stores on the World Wide Web. The competition is intense, and most of them are already established and it may take some time to fit in and achieve success.
Regarding a retail store, it is more facile for you to complete a survey of locations to see if other businesses are offering the same products you wish to offer. You may even find out that there is no business of that kind existing within a certain location. If you’re not offering anything unique, then a retail store could remain an ideal choice instead of entering the saturated online market.
Marketing and building a customer base is one of the most essential part of a business whether online or offline. With an offline store your customer base is limited to your surrounding while with an online store it is vast. The way you present products on an offline retail store is also limited. But on an e-commerce store you can be more flexible in the way you present your products to attract potential customers.
With an online store, you have the opportunity to use social media or email marketing to showcase your business products. When people create an account on your e-commerce store while buying items, they are automatically added to your mailing lists. This list can always be used to send email newsletters and updates to customers when there’s a new product.
Keeping records of a list of products in-stock is very vital in any business whether online or offline. A customer may want to buy many items from your store. So, they may need to know how many of that item is available in your store. With an online store you can easily enter the amount of product available in-stock and how many are sold. This is typically done automatically by the e-commerce software within your website. Compare to a traditional retail store, you may need to hire someone to keep these records and there are possibilities that the data maybe inaccurate.
In conclusion, picking the right one between a traditional retail store and an online e-commerce store might be a bit difficult, but it mostly depends on the product. For a start I will prefer operating an online store, because it’s a lot easier for a new business that is just starting out. It is cheaper to start with, and you can reach out to more potential customers in the shortest possible time and build a customer base. While your business is growing, you can indeed consider running both the e-commerce store and a retail store.
If you’re looking for a professional web designer who can build a comprehensive e-commerce store, you can hire us at Faalen Technologies. We have helped lots of business start-ups to get an online presence. View our demo e-commerce store below.
(2018, July 2). Retrieved from Buy Me a Pie: https://blog.buymeapie.com/online-shopping-traditional-shopping-pros-cons/
(2018, July 2). Retrieved from Chron Small Business: http://smallbusiness.chron.com/pros-cons-retail-store-vs-online-store-40789.html
(2018, July 2). Retrieved from Formations Direct Blog: http://www.formationsdirect.com/blog/physical-retail-stores-vs-online/
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Ousman Faal [Digital Vigilante] is a Tech Entrepreneur & Digital Skills Trainer who teaches both in the classroom and online. He has experience in various technologies and likes sharing it with others. Ousman has published 144 articles on this blog. He is the CEO of Faalen Technologies and Skills.gm.