Reports on the demise of brick and mortar businesses have been greatly exaggerated. Despite an ever-increasing willingness on the part of consumers to do most if not all of their shopping online, it turns out that having a physical presence can still work wonders for your company. That’s because people alter their perceptions according to how and where they make their purchases. In order to get the most business and have the happiest customers, it would be wise for companies to take advantage of both options.
That being said, it’s important to note that there are benefits and drawbacks to each of them. Going over these aspects is essential when it comes to making the right call for your company. So let’s compare the two approaches and see what each brings to the table in this day and age.
Brick and Mortar Businesses:
For a long time the only option available, brick and mortar stores still preserve some of their old magic in the eyes of consumers.
1. Having a physical presence, although not absolutely necessary, is seen by many as legitimising the business itself. People are more inclined to trust a place that they can see and visit instead of one that only exists online.
2. In a brick and mortar store you can showcase products, organize walk-ins as well as provide in-person customer service which tends to be perceived as more reliable by most consumers.
3. By simply choosing a good location in which to place your store or shop you’ll considerably increase the awareness of your brand by making it visible to anyone that passes by.
1. Opening a brick and mortar business is significantly more expensive than launching an online one. Aside from rent and utilities, you’ll most likely have to spend a lot on decoration and maintenance services.
2. Developing a well-trained staff is key to having a successful business; you can expect to spend long hours and a significant amount of money on wages in order to motivate people to become responsible and care about the business as if it was their own, especially in your absence.
Although they’ve gained a lot of ground in recent years, many web-only companies may find it hard to reach the next level without a corresponding physical presence.
1. In the past setting up a website used to require a bit of technical know-how, but now you can outsource most if not all of that work to various freelancers, making the process of building an online business much cheaper and faster than opening a traditional store.
2. With studies showing that more and more people are comfortable buying almost everything online, from gas to groceries, consumer confidence in web-based companies has never been higher.
3. Having an online business allows you and your employees to work from home, thus saving you from having to pay an expensive lease on commercial space, as well as encouraging a less stressful working environment.
1. Setting up an online store that provides a services like sending appliances or other items to people across the country or even internationally can be quite a logistic challenge, especially for people with no previous experience.
2. Not having a brick and mortar store will make it that much harder to get your foot in the door; most web-based companies have to spend a lot of time, energy and resources into full-fledged marketing campaigns in order to attract potential customers.
As you can see, both approaches bring about their own sets of advantages and potential problems. Ideally, a successful business should find a way to integrate both solutions without compromising quality or losing money. Take Google, for example. The search engine giant is one of the world’s most instantly recognizable brands, yet they too sought to improve their standing in the marketplace by opening up their first store in London recently.
Another, local, example comes from Queensland Appliances. This Australian company specialises in providing cost-effective home devices ranging from refrigerators to washing machines and everything in between. Aside from an online store where you can explore the full range of their products, they also maintain a brick and mortar shop for people who prefer stopping by in person. Having this kind of arrangement lets people put a face on your company, while at the same time allowing them the flexibility to choose whichever option is most convenient. It’s a win-win proposition any way you look at it.