Bricks and Mortar Vs Online Shopping

Something I noticed during my recent shopping escapade (shhh don’t tell my partner!) was the number of flyers I received with my receipts, thefrenzymag encouraging me to check out their fab new online stores where I can purchase all the same great products. Which lead me to ask the question: do you want me to shop in store or online?

It appears the competition between Australian retailers and online shopping giants has subsided, and our beloved retailers are now supporting their traditional bricks and mortar with virtual boutiques (where you can not only browse but now make purchases online), giving us the best of both worlds!

Arguably, both set ups have pros and cons for businesses. Online equates to fewer overheads and shop fit out costs, and enables shoppers to access and purchase their products 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

In comparison, retail outlets reap the benefits of increased buyer confidence as it allows consumers to see, feel and touch the products before purchasing. It’s also worth mentioning the reassurance provided by the friendly (or perhaps better word is convincing) sales lady who can influence shoppers into buying even if it wasn’t their intention to purchase, and we all know what that is like!

But rather than opting for one or the other, it would appear our retailers are making use of the ‘brick and click’ option, where the shop space remains and they develop a e-commerce website to complement their retail space. This has them covered from all angles and is already popular with most of our favourites in clothing, retail, electronic and popular ‘big box’ stores.

But…before we all rush out and develop a whizz bang e-commerce website, businesses need to be sure that they are doing it for the right reasons and not just to keep up with trends. Here are a couple of pointers to consider before deciding your traditional retail business can benefit from the support of online trading:

• What are your market demographics? Do some research. Ask your customers if they are looking for a convenient shopping option and find out if they even shop online.

• Do you have a clear marketing strategy in place? Analyse and plan guys!

• Do you have the resources, both money and time, to invest in an e-commerce website that actually works? This means attracting traffic to your website, converting sales and ongoing website maintenance.

• Are your competitors online? If so, what does their website look like, does it work well or not, and why. Learn from your competition to identify what they’re doing that you can improve on, or identify what you can offer that’s different and sets you apart from them.

There are certainly huge benefits in adding online into the mix, so if you find your customers are looking for other ways to purchase your products and you have the time, resources and strategy in place, then you should absolutely start benefiting from both new and traditional business practices.


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