Is the future of your business online or on the high street?
The brave new world of business is all about online commerce and social media marketing. A business with no online presence is at a disadvantage in the modern business world.
Conversely, there has been a recent shift from online business into good old brick and mortar and this may be the best direction for your business too.
The future of brick and mortar business
If online giants like Amazon are choosing to open physical stores like its flagship enterprise in Seattle’s University Village then perhaps you should sit up and take notice!
Amazon are not alone in their venture. Warby Parker, Bonobos, Birchbox, and Casper have all opened up stores in the last 12 months indicating that real estate may be the way forward.
So, what’s in it for you and why would you want to take on the hassle of an actual shop when you were quite happy living in virtual reality.
It’s all to do with overcrowding. Online marketing is an incredibly crowded marketplace right now and it is becoming increasingly difficult to stand out. You can try clever branding, a killer logo design and an impressive social media marketing strategy but you are still competing with thousands of other businesses who are all doing the same thing.
With a local store, you only have local competition and, if you are lucky, no competition at all.
Take back control
As a small business, it is easy to feel that your entire marketing potential is outside of your control. Are you spending hours trying to outwit the vagaries of the Facebook algorithm so that your posts get seen by the people who matter?
The all-powerful gatekeepers of your online presence, such as Google, dictate your every move and some entrepreneurs are simply turning their backs on that in favor of a more traditional approach.
Setting up your brick and mortar store
Getting your hands dirty, literally, in opening a physical store brings a great sense of satisfaction and achievement that is harder to reach in online retail. Technology is never far away so technophiles will still be satisfied.
You can install the latest tech so that customers can purchase items using such using Apple Pay making it convenient and easy for them.
This is a two-way street. Your physical store can drive traffic to your website, perhaps by recommending a wider range of products that can be found there. Your website can drive footfall into your store by advertising the ultimate in retail experience.
You can care for your customers in a store by providing a gorgeous environment for them to shop. If is smells great, looks great and feels great people are more likely to buy. You can’t portray this via a website alone.
Your store does not have to be huge. You could follow the Bonobos model where you essentially provide a ‘sample’ store where clients can try out products before ordering online for delivery at home. This allows you to provide a seamless service between your high street and online presence.