The discussion between e-commerce vs brick-and-mortar stores is a complex one. Ever since Amazon took over the e-commerce world, shoppers have been more and more interested in shopping online. Amidst this digital boom, a lot of consumers have felt separated from the shopping experience which has led people to turn back to the in-person experience. For business owners, this leaves a complicated question. Should you choose an e-commerce store or an in-person store for your business? This guide will explore which is best for your business.
An e-commerce store is simply a digital shop. Customers can browse merchandise and select products online for purchase. It’s easy and inexpensive to start your own ecommerce website for your business, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right choice. The main benefit of e-commerce websites is the simplicity. These websites aren’t limited to a local audience, and they aren’t open during limited hours. You can make sales 24/7 without worrying about down time or holidays. You also don’t have to manage employees which can be expensive for smaller businesses.
While there are great perks of owning an ecommerce business, they are also unique challenges. The main challenge is getting your brand noticed. When your only presence is online, it’s difficult to be seen with so much additional competition online nowadays. Most online shoppers trust only large retailers like Amazon that they know and trust. Getting new shoppers to trust your smaller website is not an easy feat. The other main disadvantage of e-commerce websites is the lack of customer interactions. Your website becomes the face of your company, and this gets rid of human connection if you aren’t careful. Now that you know why e-commerce websites present their own challenges and benefits, let’s discuss brick-and-mortar stores.
As people lose trust in online sales over the internet, they’re returning to physical stores for their buying. Owning a physical store takes a lot of startup cost, and it might not be the best fit for every business. If you can afford it, however, a physical store gives you the benefit of a community. People are more likely to take notice of your store, and you don’t have to compete with a world of online businesses. Physical stores also give you the chance to focus on customer experience and create real relationships with your customers.
While the customer experience is a great asset for any business, it also presents new challenges. Maintaining a physical space is a lot more work than maintaining a website. You need to do your research on the best space for your business and you’ll likely encounter complex problems while in that space that require skilled labor. You might need to research how to rent a scissor lift in Fresno or how to hire the best local contractor. These things aren’t problems for online businesses. It will ultimately be up to you what you value more for your business!
The Best of Both Worlds
In a digital world, the best option if you can afford it is to simply do both. Having both an online e-commerce business and a physical store gives you the advantages of both such as genuine customer interactions and a larger audience. In this competitive market, businesses can’t afford to limit themselves to one single space. They also can’t afford to think only in terms of the internet. That’s why things like pop-up shops and temporary space are so popular in 2018. Really consider the differences between e-commerce stores and in-person stores listed above to create a plan for your business that works in today’s market.