The world of retail in the information age has taken many different forms, from the old convenience stores to the franchised supermarket, and now the wholesale business has made the jump to almost being exclusively online. The trend for any new retail business is to solely go online because it is assumed that online is where the most money will be made and that is where the customers go. That is not necessarily the case. When starting a retail business, there are arguments for each side of the coin. Choosing the right one is of the utmost importance, but which one suits you?
When starting up your own company designed for the purpose of selling and distributing items, you would think twice about setting up a physical store. After all, it isn’t the choice that customers would go for in the most part. It is easier to go online, make a few clicks and that is it. But having a bricks and mortar setup helps to cater for a customer in more ways than you think. The difference in purchasing online to the retail outlet is one of tangibility; the item is there in front of you when you go to a store. You can examine the item yourself and get a better idea of the product. Online we rely on product descriptions and the hope that the item is delivered to us in one piece and, more importantly, on time. This is relinquishing control to the seller in many ways. The other aspect where you can shine as a business is to actually have a retail operation and an online store work in tandem with each other. This has worked so well for many big name chains, and by having a sense of cohesion with online tech and retail tech, it means a more complete experience for the customer. Companies like TallySoft.com provide tech so information can be accessed remotely and back office functions can be optimized more efficiently. By integrating the online and physical worlds, you are giving the customer and your business more satisfaction.
The big argument for just opening an online store is one of cost. Compared to bricks and mortar, you have only the website to maintain, the merchant fees, and the staff to maintain the site, which is a lot less than employing 20 to 30 sales assistants. The time to get from business idea to fully-fledged company is also fewer than setting up a shop. The fact of the matter is that when you are running a small company compared to a small shop, you can operate out of your home and keep stock there. You have no need for a stock room and an inventory to keep track of. The success of many people who run eBay operations on the side have shown this, but as a foolproof method to make big business? It remains to be seen. While small startups can benefit from the lack of cost, unless you really start to upscale your operation to include more staff and bigger location, like a physical shop, then the online business may only be limited in its scope for profit.