Retail Store versus Online Retail

With the growth of the digital world, space and demand for online retail has opened up. And with technology booming at such a rapid rate, one would assume that online retail is growing with it and retail stores are going out of fashion. However, this is not the case.There is still a need for both. There are three main reasons for this;

1. Cost

Online stores are cheaper to open than physical retail stores: no rent, no utility bills, no maintenance, no decoration, and no additional employees. For online stores, you need to pay for your domain, for any sponsored or boosted advertising and somebody to develop the store’s website and e-commerce platform. Conclusively, the initial investment is far cheaper for an online store.

There are however many factors to consider. Online is becoming more and more popular and customers are expecting it but there is still a need for a physical store in many instances. Especially if you have a long standing customer base who is use to visiting your store. Or depending on demographics or type of products, this might even still be the preferred method.

2. Customer Experience

Consumers prefer to see and feel physical items, even if it is just once, where after they might use your online store. This is specially prevalent with cybersecurity issues, fraud and the likes as they need to be able to trust you when paying for their goods.

Additionally, Online retail does not provide the same kind of customer experience as you might get in a physical store where you have human connection and interaction etc, which is paramount for brand loyalty. You can however still offer a good customer experience via online shopping. Aspects such as a user friendly website, communication post orders to inform them when what will happen next, thanking them for their orders etc makes a big difference. Business have to ensure exceptional customer service these days, regardless of whether it is in store or online.

Last but not least, there is the actual payment processes of goods both in-store and online. In both these instances, payment has to be a seamless process. 

3. Marketing

Marketing approaches for online versus in-store retail are fundamentally different. With physical retail stores, the customer is brought to the front of your store in various ways, for example by just being within the vicinity of your store so they can just pop in. Whereas for online retail, you need to generatetraffic to your site through digital marketing – for this, you may need to hire a professional. The creation of a customer base is more difficult online than in-store.

While online stores may be more cost-effective, establishing a client base is less time-consuming in retail stores. At IQ Retail, we believe that with the right software and technology, either, if not both, are created and run systematically and reliably, integrating information across all platforms into one database for your ease.

Contact IQ Retail to find out how our retail solutions can benefit your business.