When starting a business it can be difficult to decide whether to open a real physical shop or an online shop, or even both. With online sales increasing each year, it can be easy to overlook the benefit to a business from having a physical presence, but there are of course advantages to both.
Benefits of online stores
This is a crucial difference between physical and online retail stores as there are no hefty rents or rates or utilities to pay with an online store.
Wider customer base
With an online store you are not limited to shoppers in your local area, region or even country. You are not dependent on footfall and your goods are available to the world.
An online shop means you can have a flexible schedule, your shop is always open but you do not necessarily need to be there to mind it. With an online shop, customers can shop whatever their schedules are too, in the middle of the night, on public holidays, etc., so there are no limitations.
Benefits of a physical store
Research has shown that one in every five pounds spent in UK shops is now spent online and we read stories every year about the decline of the high street, but physical stores do still have some advantages.
Seeing the products
Customers like to see, feel and even try out products. This can be a huge advantage over online stores. How many times have we purchased something online only to find in reality it is nothing like it was described or pictured? Shopping in a physical shop takes away this uncertainty and the use of in store media can add to this.
Often customers enjoy the experience of shopping, this can depend greatly on the product obviously, but online shoppers do not get this. By concentrating on the shopping environment and providing a great shopping experience, physical stores can gain the edge, and in store media options found online at Mood Media can add greatly to the shopping experience.
With a physical shop, it can be easier for retailers to build up a relationship with customers, encouraging loyalty and repeat custom. That is not to say customers do not have loyalty to online retailers but person to person contact can promote that relationship.