You’ll always find people discussing the many benefits of selling products and services online. We all know that it’s a convenient and affordable way to reach new markets. It’s also a good way to sell to international customers too.
But, I’d like to play devil’s advocate today and explain why opening a retail store is an even better idea! You might think I’m crazy for suggesting that! After all; many businesses shut down because they have few customers in their stores?
One thing the media won’t tell you is how growing numbers of firms are bucking the trend. They are making a healthy profit from bricks and mortar stores. And they can do so while still selling online. So, what are their secrets?
People love to try before they buy
The most obvious downside to online stores is that you can’t try any products out. Let’s say that you run a business selling clothes to the retail market. Sure, you can describe each garment online and even offer details on dimensions.
But, that’s no good if people are unsure whether particular items will fit them or not! The only way to know for certain is to try them on in a retail store. If they fit, the customer will buy those items.
Some online clothes retailers offer free returns to entice people to buy from them. The only downside is that it’s not a convenient way of shopping. After all; what happens if you have to try on about five different sizes before you find the one that fits well?
The whole process could end up taking weeks. In a retail store, you can try the different clothes on during the one visit.
Let me give you a real-life example of how a retail store works well for such businesses.
A company in Canada named Indochino sell menswear online. One criticism they often had was from people that wanted to try items on in a store. In the end, they had to build a fitting area in the lobby of their headquarters for customers!
They had many people taking up the offer of using their fitting rooms. In the end, they decided to open some showrooms for their customers! Although it’s an interesting story of how a firm went from online to retail sales, it’s not a unique one.
Not everyone wants to buy online
It’s no secret that most people prefer the convenience of buying online these days. If you run a busy household, for example, it can save you a lot of time and hassle. Still, there are some folks that prefer conventional ways of buying the things they need.
Now, you might be thinking that I’m referring to older generations that have never used a PC. But, did you know there are lots of younger people that are averse to technology? There are various reasons why some shoppers prefer to avoid the Internet.
First, there’s the issue of technology. Especially if they don’t have an Internet connection at home. There’s also the question of security. Not everyone is happy with typing in their card details on a computer screen!
Some consumers prefer to support local businesses rather than faceless corporations over the Internet. When you buy online, you’ll need meet the people that take your card payment or process your order. All you’ll ever get is an email confirming your order details.
As you can see, there is still a great demand for local enterprise. Not everyone wishes to buy their goods and services on the Internet.
It’s not as expensive as you might think
One of the downsides to opening up any retail store is the cost. Most businesses have to lease the premises and organize insurance before they get started. They must also pay for remodeling work inside the store, and get stock delivered so that they can go on display.
As you can imagine, the costs will always be higher doing that than selling online. But, one fact that may surprise you is how the cost to open up a retail store isn’t as expensive as you think!
For some reason, people assume you would have to spend six-figure sums on running even a small store. Of course, nothing could get further from the truth! For a start, there are many government grants that can give you money towards opening up a retail store.
Even if there aren’t any available in your area, you can always borrow the money you need to set up. If your bank won’t help you, Imperial Advance and other lenders can offer you the funding you need. All you need to do is present a solid business case for opening a retail store!
Did you know that even large online-only corporations are setting up retail stores? Take Amazon, for instance. They are a global operation and one that’s made its CEO, Jeff Bezos, a billionaire! Even they have realized the need to service customers in a local setting. Back in February, Amazon opened its first retail store in Indiana.
Omnichannel sales are the way forward
One of the reasons some firms go bust is because they only sell through just one medium. Have you ever noticed how most companies that have omnichannel sales channels are profitable? That’s because they offer consumers a choice of buying online or in a local store.
Many sellers allow customers to buy online and have items delivered to a nearby store. That benefits people that cannot stay at home to wait for deliveries. All they have to do is pick them up from their local store when they finish work.
Retail stores can boost online sales
One fact of retail stores is that they increase sales on their online counterparts! There are plenty of people that browse goods in local stores and go away to “think” about them. Some of those that decide to buy them will do so online instead of going back into the store.
As you can see, retail stores offer business many benefits. When will you be opening up your first retail store?