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Retail Vs Virtual Store – The Pros & Cons


So, you have something to sell and you’re not sure whether to go totally retail or build a shopping cart website. It is a big decision and with that in mind, we point out some of the pluses and minuses of traditional retail and e-commerce. 

Brick-and-mortar store

Pros

There’s nothing to stop you leasing a commercial space and bringing in a fitout contractor; it is a significant investment to launch a High Street store, especially in an urban area, but it does place you in the centre of consumers who are in shop mode. If you get the right location and your wares are in demand, you should do well. A store needs an identity, so spend time on the design; signage is especially critical, as is lighting. If you are inside a shopping mall, security is provided and you would pay monthly for utilities. Investing in heavy duty shelving is a one-off thing that gives you the storage space you need.

Cons

Setting up a store is an expensive business; regardless of your budget, it will be exceeded, which puts unnecessary pressure on the business to perform. Rates are high and you have no choice but to pass the extra on to the shopper; indeed, many traditional stores have made the switch to online stores, where they make more money. Of course, major chains have both types of store and the online version is taking a bigger slice of the pie every year.

Shopping cart website

Pros

The advantages are indeed many; you need minimum capital to launch an e-commerce platform and perhaps the biggest plus is the fact that you have no tangible assets to maintain, no rates to pay and no employees to hire. Your store is open 24/7 and is protected by top-notch cyber-security, protecting you and your customers. Digital tech allows you to receive payment in any currency, plus you can easily undercut any brick-and-mortar store on price. Indeed, as the online retailer, you don’t even need to touch the product, you simply forward all orders to the manufacturer who uses your packaging. Click here for what to hang on your man cave walls.

Cons

We can’t really find a downside to selling via the web; all your IT needs can be supplied by a single provider, they can even administrate and update images and text. Perhaps the only risk is you have so much competition, which means you have to pull out all the stops; investing in SEO work pays dividends and boosts your site’s Google rankings and that drives traffic to your platform. Much like any store, customer service is a critical factor; you want the user experience (UX) to be smooth and trouble-free.

As you can see, there are pros and cons for both store types; only you can decide which is best for your product line. The retail sector in Australia has not experienced growth since the start of the pandemic, which reflects the shift to e-commerce, which has been a global thing.

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