If there’s one trend that we can clearly see this year, it’s that the conditions created by a global pandemic has driven most of our social, professional, and commercial activities online.
Depending on where you live, you may have witnessed the closing down of your local shopping malls, restaurants, theaters, gyms, and other businesses that were deemed non-essential by governments around the world. As lockdowns occurred, people were forced to stay indoors, and the only places left to go were the grocery store, the drugstore, and the internet.
The new normal brought on an almost overnight change in the way people shop and there wasn’t really even much of a choice when we live in a time where brick and mortar stores are considered dangerous to visit. This has meant that everything from our groceries to our home décor and personal care products were being purchased online.
With many physical stores down, the ones that offered their customers online services clearly worked at an even greater advantage in 2020, and probably in theyears to come. Because of this, many businesses that have previously stuck to selling in physical locations are now deciding to shift in the direction of building the much needed bridge their business needs between brick-and-mortar and online shopping.
If you’re still on the fence on whether you should build an online store to go with your physical store, then you’ve come to the right place to look for the benefits of going online. In this article, we are going to talk about and highlight the benefits of building an online store to go along with your physical shop, and why this is something you can continue to benefit from as years go by.
1. Gives You Multi-Channel Advantage
When it comes to retail, having a multi channel strategy means that your brand provides customers more than one way to buy their goods and services. An example of a multichannel retail strategy is when a store has an operating brick-and-mortar location and an app or a website that customers can also visit to view their products and services and make online purchases from as well. When you use a multichannel business strategy, you are providing your customers with multiple buying platforms to choose from.
Today’s shoppers have come to prefer it when businesses give them a variety of ways to shop with them, giving those who practice multichannel retailing an advantage.
One of the greatest advantage in multi channel retailing is that it gives customers and the brand more flexibility, opening up more possibilities to the customers to choose to complete a purchase on the platform that is most convenient and suited to their shopping preferences.
In this age where more people search online for products and services, it’s simply better to have a multichannel strategy that allows your customers to have access to your store offline and online as well.
2. Greatly Improves Accessibility
One of the major advantage in going online that exclusively brick-and-mortar stores don’t have is the fact that online stores don’t have to stick to its strict operating hours. Sure, your brick-and-mortar shop may open at 9am and closes at 8pm, but your customers can still visit your online store no matter the time or their physical location.
The fact is your ecommerce business will never sleep and will never need time off to go on vacation. Your online store will be able to stay open all day and night for your customers to view your product catalogue, your services, and your prices, so that they can make purchase decisions without even having to drive up to your shop. It’s convenient for them and for you.
3. Improves the Shopping Experience
Let’s face it, not everyone likes to go and shop in physical stores for a multitude of reasons. From driving and getting stuck in traffic, to finding a parking space, to that sales assistant that follows you around in the store, sometimes shopping online just makes for a stress-free and more ideal shopping experience that follows their pace.
Giving your customers the option to shop online in the comfort of their own home or in their favorite cafe instead of making the effort to travel to your physical store can be a way for you to provide your customers with a convenient shopping experience that they can enjoy and keep coming back for.
4. Low Startup Cost
Unlike maintaining your brick-and-mortar store, building a website dedicated to your online sales and presence is relatively cheaper than renting and developing a physical store location, and it’s a great channel that will likely improve your overall sales, bringing in a new source of customers and revenue to help you build a stronger business.
Starting an online store usually comes with a low startup cost and maintenance. It is less physically and financially demanding than renting out and manning a store, hiring staff, and more. Putting your brand and business online is easy with ecommerce platforms like Shopify, a widely used and affordable online ecommerce platform that allows businesses both big and small to set up an online store and sell their products online. Pricing starts at $29 a month and all you’ll need is a quality theme and you can build a professional site by yourself or with the help of a developer.
5. Improves Brand Visibility
Let’s say that you have a small business selling artisanal products that are all-natural and good for you. Your products hold great potential but you sell exclusively offline in an obscure location where all you will ever be is a corner stall or store that relies on foot traffic and the limited people in your locale. If you want to reach more people and improve your brand’s image, then going and selling online will be a great way to do that.
With a brick and mortar store, you are limiting yourself in terms of location and the individuals who can visit your store in the flesh, but when you establish an online presence, you can improve your reach and have thousands more customers visit your shop all at the same time. Going online can help improve not only your reach, but your brand visibility as well, helping you establish your business in the eyes and minds of your customers. And the more customers you can get to explore and learn about your products and services, the higher the chances and volume of your
6. Good For Businesses Big and Small
Remember that going online isn’t just for big companies and corporations long established with loyal consumers to their brand. Going online can also be a great and highly defining move for small businesses and new businesses alike.
In fact, many businesses can attribute their success to their online marketing campaigns and channels. In today’s world where most of us are spending much of our time on the internet and our money online, there seems to be fewer reasons for businesses to stay exclusively offline at all.
The Wrap Up
These are the most compelling reasons why your brick-and-mortar store needs to establish an online presence through your very own online shop. Building an online store will give you a greater edge in multichannel marketing, helping you give your customers more options to shop. It greatly improves your accessibility as shoppers can explore your products and services at any time of the day from any location, this in turn helps you improve your customers’ shopping experience.
Starting an online store is also an affordable way to expand your reach and revenue streams and can help you build your startup or small business, taking you to the next level. Whether you’re providing customers with a product or a service, going online can be a positive business move that can give you access to more possibilities and opportunities this year and onwards.
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