Guest Post: Why You Should Take Your Brick and Mortar Store Online
In recent years the retail industry has been in transition. Although the digital revolution has disrupted some sectors, others have reported increased profits compared to their physical shops. For example, due to the surge of online shopping and Prime Day, Amazon sales reached over $3 billion during 2022's event alone. More than 100 million small business items were included in this sale to support small businesses to Win Big Sweepstakes.
While the traditional brick-and-mortar store is not going anywhere anytime soon, tech-savvy retailers are looking at how they can complement their physical stores with an online presence. Going online allows your business to grow and reach more customers in a cost-efficient way. Take your brick-and-mortar store online today and reap the benefits!
Brick and Mortar Store vs Online
The number of people who shop online continues to rise. According to the research of Statista, In 2021, retail e-commerce sales reached 4.9 trillion dollars with active users worldwide. By 2025, that number is expected to reach 7.4 trillion dollars.
The internet has changed how we shop, but it has also changed how businesses are run. Today's consumers expect their purchases to be delivered to their doorsteps without waiting in long lines or even leaving their homes. They also expect these products to be affordable and of superior quality. For many entrepreneurs, this means taking their business online.
Putting your store online is the logical next step for any entrepreneur today. E-commerce has overtaken brick and mortar as customers have grown accustomed to shopping online. There is no need to limit yourself to a physical location.
Benefits Of An Online Presence For Your Business
1. Increase Your Customer Base
Your customer base will grow exponentially. You can instantly reach millions of people across the globe by being available on the web 24/7. You can reach more customers and sell more products than you could ever do in your local area alone.
By taking advantage of this global marketplace, you can reach customers who might otherwise never discover what you have to offer them — and vice versa.
With an online presence, you can also make it easier for existing customers to make repeat purchases or refer their friends and family members through an online referral rewards program if they had a positive experience with you in the past.
2. Diversify Your Offerings
Many people want to buy things they can't get in person. For example, if you own a clothing store, customers may want to buy clothes unavailable in stores or sold out.
They will likely turn to online retailers or another store if they can't get these items from your brick-and-mortar location. Consequently, you'll lose out on sales opportunities if you don't have an online presence.
3. Offer More Value
The internet allows you to expand your reach beyond just your local area. Which can help you connect with people who wouldn't otherwise know about your business or be able to visit it in person.
With an online presence, you can create an online store that showcases everything you have to offer, including items that aren't available in stores or only available at certain times of the year.
The sky is the limit of your inventory when it comes to online business. You can list down a wide range of products online that you can source from your distributor when the order is placed. Which isn’t feasible otherwise with your store.
4. Expand Your Inventory for Less Cost
E-commerce website building platforms such as Dukaan, BigCommerce, and Shopify offer free or low-cost platforms that enable small businesses with limited capital to build their e-commerce website in no time. You don’t need to learn coding to launch a website using these platforms.
So by taking advantage of these services, you can begin selling products that would otherwise be too expensive or difficult to ship through conventional means such as Amazon or eBay. This will allow you to expand your inventory without paying extra upfront for new products!
5. Give Customers Instant Gratification
Online retailers can offer same-day delivery or allow customers to shop at any time of day or night. This convenience is exceptionally appealing to busy consumers.
Give customers a reason to go online by offering same-day delivery options or special discounts that only apply to online purchases. This will help increase impulse buying, driving sales for you overall.
6. Reduce Operating Costs and Start Generating Profit Faster
You can reduce operating costs by using the internet to sell your products instead of having an expensive storefront location. Reduce overhead by eliminating the need for employees or contractors who perform tasks such as cleaning or maintenance.
You can also eliminate any inventory storage space by storing it digitally in the cloud and only purchasing what is needed to replenish stock levels.
10 Reasons To Take Your Brick-and-Mortar Store Online
Here are some compelling reasons why a brick-and-mortar store should expand its business to include an e-commerce option:
1. Higher Potency of Marketing
Brick-and-mortar stores are a great traffic source for e-commerce businesses, but the conversion rate is lower than expected. This is because customers are already in the store when they decide to buy something online.
This means you have to rely on them remembering your logo and brand, which is not as effective as other marketing strategies, such as paid ads.
2. Increased Brand Recognition
People who see your logo or hear your name will associate it with a product they like. If they were to see your company logo on a billboard or commercial, they would instantly connect what they saw online and in person.
This can help increase brand recognition significantly by spreading awareness about your company through multiple media outlets rather than just one at a time, as traditional advertising would allow!
3. Lower Costs
Most businesses see lower overhead costs when they move online because they don't have to worry about maintaining a physical storefront anymore. You can also eliminate employees who work at the store but aren't needed when your business is conducted online instead of in person.
This can save you lots of money that would otherwise be spent on salaries or rent for office space.
Steve Elliott, Franchise Owner at Restoration1 says “With all of your product and sales data in one accessible online location, taking orders and processing payments is as easy as opening an email or searching your database.”
Steve further added “By reducing the number of employees, rent on new or existing office space can be saved, as can the cost of running the business. You can now conduct all of your business operations, including purchasing, billing, order fulfillment, and shipping, online by making use of a variety of online service providers.”
4. Real-Time Business Insights
The power of social media allows you to understand what customers say about your products or company. You can respond in real-time with comments, posts, or even direct messages that will help build customer loyalty and satisfaction.
When customers shop online, they go directly to the product page before deciding what else they want from your site. With this information, you can make better decisions about optimizing your website for conversions with real-time data instead of relying on gut feelings or assumptions about what customers are doing on your site.
5. More Flexibility
Online retailing gives you more flexibility than traditional shopping does. You can open or close your store as needed without having to worry about staffing issues or having to pay rent at all hours of the day and night. You can add new products instantly, update prices and stock levels at any time and even alter your site's layout to suit your needs.
Customers can browse through inventory while at work or while they are out and about running errands during their lunch break.
6. Reach Global Audience
Brick-and-mortar stores only have so much space for advertising their products or services, while online stores have the entire internet to do so with just one click of a button (or two). It doesn't matter if your business sells thousands or millions of items. Millions of people look for them daily on Google alone! Plus, you have the peace of mind knowing that you can accept secure payments online through payment processors such as PayPal, Venmo, and Stripe or even through credit and debit card providers.
And if you want more traffic, then paid ads and text marketing are an excellent way to do that too! No matter what industry or niche your business falls into, there is always going. You also have more opportunities to reach out to target markets that you might not have been able to reach before, like international tourists who visit your city but may not live there full time.
7. Automated and Enhanced Customer Service
You can provide your customers with 24/7 service when you have an online presence. You can offer them various options when contacting you, such as live chat, email support, phone call, or via messenger apps. Your customers can also find answers to basic questions before purchasing.
This will help reduce customer service costs while increasing customer satisfaction! You can provide 24/7 customer service through forums, social media accounts, or even an automated chat feature that allows customers to get answers without waiting for an employee. This automation will also help respond to your customer support tickets, further boosting the customer’s trust in your brand.
8. Compete With More Prominent Brands on a More Level Playing Field
When it comes to competing against more prominent brands, there are two ways of doing this. One way is to attract customers by offering them better deals and discounts. This method can work in some cases, but it's not sustainable in the long run because it will only result in increased expenses for your business without generating any real sales growth or profit increases for your company.
The other option is to go where those customers already are — namely, the internet — and engage them there rather than trying to bring them into your physical location.
“The Internet has become the great equalizer for small businesses trying to compete for attention against massive brands. Armed with a cell phone and a social media account, store owners have the ability to reach and engage with hundreds, thousands, or even millions of potential customers,” says Matt Buchanan, Chief Growth Office at Service Direct. “Before, that type of reach was only possible with a massive marketing budget, but now anyone can build an audience with a limited budget.”
9. Drive More Foot Traffic
Online shopping offers many benefits over traditional shopping. First and foremost, it allows customers to browse products without leaving their homes. This means they don't have to drive around looking for parking spots or wait in long lines at checkout counters — they can do everything from their computers or mobile devices while relaxing at home.
If your business relies on people walking in off the street, converting them into customers is crucial. By taking your business online, you can reach more people who would otherwise never have known about your store or products.
10. Boost Sales and Build Customer Loyalty
Online shopping has become the new normal for consumers looking for convenience and ease of purchase. In today's competitive market, it's crucial to offer your customers many ways to interact with your brand — and shopping online is one way to do that.
By providing an online experience that mirrors that of your physical store, you're giving customers more reasons to engage with your brand multiple times throughout the year instead of just once every few months when they visit your storefront.
In the end, it's up to you. Will you hold to tradition and stay offline, or will you embrace the future and make your business available to a global audience?
When you choose the latter, you'll extend your reach beyond the geographic boundaries of your traditional store while reaching a new audience of potential customers. The future of retail is headed in this direction — and there's no better time to get in on the action.
About the Author
Mehdi Hussen is a SaaS marketing and growth consultant. He helps SaaS businesses drive organic growth and customer acquisition through data-driven content marketing strategies. Mehdi spends his spare time musing about startup growth strategies, personal productivity, and remote work. Connect with him through Twitter or LinkedIn
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