When you think about starting a business, you have to choose between a physical store and an online one. Both come with advantages and disadvantages and they are suitable for different business owners. We will cover the main points that you have to take into consideration before you choose what type of store to open.
You have to pay for a website but not for physical space
To build an online store from scratch can be pricey, but it is a one-time investment with minimum maintenance on long term. On the other hand, a physical store requires a bigger investment if you want to buy a space or more money in the long term, if you want to pay rent. Also, it is a challenge to find the right space, arrange it in the way you want and get a good deal.
A physical store is not as vulnerable
Of course, stealing can happen even when it comes to a physical store, but the chances are significantly lower. On the other hand, when your store is online it might require additional safety measures such as antiviruses and encryption, not to mention special software for any IoT device security.
An online store can get more visitors with ease
It is difficult to control how many people enter your physical store, especially if it is not in a crowded area. When it comes to e-commerce businesses, you can easily direct visitors from social media or advertisements, and you can have thousands of potential clients visiting your store at the same time. There will never be a line of people waiting in front of the store.
You can easily control your inventory online
There are many programs that allow you to see in real time, how many products you sold, how many clients you had in the last month, and how much you earned. With a few clicks you can know any information about your incomes, budget, inventory or prices. When it comes to physical stores, things can be more complicated and you need a few days to make a complete inventory.
You don’t need to hire staff for your online store
If you don’t have time to be at the store, you need to hire someone. This means that you have to add a salary to your expenses, and you have to spend time training them. It is a risk to let someone else represent your business, especially if the products are hand-made.
Your clients don’t get to know you online
Of course, you can tell them everything about yourself and your passion, but the entire experience still has very little human factor. When they come to your physical store, they get to talk to you and see the person behind the business. Also, if you manufacture the products yourself, you can explain to them more about the entire process and why you are passionate about what you do. This kind of interaction can create a life-long connection that is difficult to replicate in the online world.
Infographic created by WSI, a 3pl distribution company