Online shopping has become increasingly popular since the mid 90s. It reached a high in 2010, when for the first time in online shopping history, U.S. online sales during Cyber Monday surpassed $1 billion. As a result we often see shops closing on the high street. However, there is also a trend in online shops now taking their business to a new level and opening a physical store.
Read on to find out how you can take your online business to the next level by opening a store:
There are many benefits to expanding your online business into the offline world too.
1. Save Money as You Expand
Setting up an online shop was seen in the past as an affordable way of setting up a business. Business owners could have the profits without the overheads. Once your business is successful and begins to expand however, this may no longer be the case. As retail businesses boom, they need more room to manufacture and/or to store stock. They may need an office space for themselves and their customer service team. A great way to actually make your storage and office area earn it’s own rent (plus profits) is to utilise it as a retail store too.
2. Reach more Customers
When you launch a physical store off the back of a successful online store you start at a great advantage. Your current online customers will be so excited and spread the word about your new store opening. You are also going to reach far more potential customers as they come across your new shop, especially if you’ve planned it well and used a leading retail design company to plan your shop outlet. Your store will be designed specifically to attract customers into the store and will lead them to your products and increase sales. In return, your customers will receive a pleasant shopping experience.
3. Test New Products
Having a physical shop also allows you to test new products with a real-life audience. It saves a lot of money on market research. Another way to save money is to consider where you manufacture your products. Some countries have lower manufacturing costs, such as China, you can find more information here. It can be hard work getting customers to give feedback after an online shopping experience. However, in real life, customers will give this freely. A store is a great place to sell off old stock and stock that’s not doing so well online too.
4. Boost Your Brand
Having a physical store on the high street is a huge boost for your brand’s visibility. Everyone will see it whether they pass on foot or by bus. For people wo are wary of online only stores, this will offer a sense of security and they will be more likely to shop at your store. It will also allow customers to see the goods in person before buying, which is especially important if it’s products that needed to be tried on, such as clothes, or smelt, such as toiletries before buying. This is all part of the sensory shopping experience.
5. Create a Community Experience
Since Covid times, rebuilding the community is important to many people. Therfore it’s understandable that you feel the need to bring your online business into the real world and meet customers face to face once more. Having a physical store allows you to create community events that are not possible online. You could host shopping nights or sale launches. Staff will recognise repeat customers by face. You will really get to know your customers and they are now able to have conversations and ask questions about your products.
It’s also easier to give back to the community. Perhaps, you will also have donation boxes for unwanted product or recycling bins to take away all your customers packaging, so you will be helping the environment too.
So, as you can see, although it is good advice to start a business online as this can be an affordable way of stepping into the world of retail, as your online business expands it’s a good idea to take it to the next level and open a store.