One of the biggest debates in the retail marketplace is whether having a physical store or an online store is a better option. Some business owners choose to have a Shopify/ecommerce website. Others decide a physical store will work better for their business endeavour. Still, others maintain both a physical presence and an online storefront. There are benefits and drawbacks to both options.
Benefits Of Physical Stores
There are several benefits that can come from owning a physical store. The first is the opportunity to build personal relationships with your customers. The best retailers are able to provide a great shopping experience for those who visit their stores, and this can lead to repeat business. Another benefit of renting or owning buildings to interact with the public is the ability to take cash. More and more customers are using credit cards, and the payment processors like Visa, charge fees to businesses for the benefit of accepting the cards. Customers who pay cash do not pay lower prices, but they will not accrue the card swipe fees that are charged to the merchant. This could help your bottom line a little on the margins.
Yet another benefit of having a physical storefront is the ability to negotiate with your customers. While you may take a slight hit on your profits, you might be able to make up for it in volume and repeat business. This could bring in more customers on the margin and help you in your attempts to build strong relationships with your customers. One of the major problems that is associated with a physical store is the expense that comes with paying for the actual storefront. Another problem is the fact that your clientele is limited by geography. Only those who come to your store will be able to make a purchase unless you also have an online presence.
Benefits Of Ecommerce Storefronts
Engaging in Ecommerce is increasingly important for merchants. While there are benefits that come with maintaining a physical store, there are also some benefits that are associated with setting up a Shopify/Ecommerce website. The first benefit is the reduced cost that’s associated with avoiding a rent or mortgage payment. If you decide to drop ship your goods from another merchant’s warehouse, you can avoid the cost of renting any physical space whatsoever. You won’t even have to hold any physical inventory if you decide to go that route.
Another big benefit of using a ecommerce website over a physical store is the potential market you can reach. With a physical store, word of mouth might bring in some visitors who come to your town or city. With an online store, you can reach nearly any customer in the world. Sure, there are nations like North Korea that are largely cut off from the rest of the globe, but most people with an Internet connection could theoretically make a purchase from your store. The biggest problem with an online store is the difficulty of building a personal relationship with your customers through a Shopify website. You could make up for some of this personal touch with excellent customer service like frequent emails letting your customers know when they can expect to receive their goods, but those who like to shop local will not be as likely to make purchases from your online store.