Physical Storefront vs Online-Only Shopping

Physical Storefront vs Online-Only Shopping

July 10, 2023 8:57 am

If you’re a new business, especially a retail business, you might be debating whether it’s better to be online-only or a brick-and-mortar store. Your budget must be used wisely, after all, and anywhere you can cut expenses can benefit. So is it better to go with an online store, a physical storefront, or hedge your bets with both?


Online-only stores have some great benefits that make them appealing. For starters, over 2.64 billion people shop online. That’s about a third of the world’s population! You also aren’t as limited regarding who is buying your products. People from out of state and even in other countries could potentially have your goods shipped to them.

Besides that, you don’t need to spend money on buying or renting a building, cash registers, utilities, etc. You’ll still need to potentially rent a storage space to hold your products, but that’s typically still cheaper. You also won’t need a particularly large staff to man an online store, so that’s another cost-saving measure.

However, there are also drawbacks. Some people might shy away from an online-only store because they can’t see the product for themselves before purchasing it. Another big issue is that online shoppers don’t have the best attention span. It’s easy for them to get distracted, click out of the internet browser before hitting checkout, and forget to come back. Also, that money you’ve saved on staff is now spent on shipping costs, especially if you decide to ship out of the country.

Physical Store Only

Brick-and-mortar stores do still have a massive appeal in this internet-heavy world. They’re especially useful for clothing retailers, as many prefer to feel the material and try a garment on before committing to buying it. Shoppers have budgets they wish to stay in just as much as you do, so they want to be sure that they’re spending their money wisely.

in-person shopping

On top of that, while staffing a store can be an expense, it’s also a benefit. As shoppers look around, your knowledgeable staff will be on-hand to encourage purchases and answer questions. AI customer service programs may be coming a long way, but most people prefer to speak with an actual human instead of a computer program if they have questions.

However, it’s rarely suggested that you go physical storefront-only. It’s pretty much impossible to survive without some kind of online presence these days. People have simply grown too accustomed to online shopping. The convenience of being able to order online and have it delivered to them instead of driving all the way to the store saves them time, gas, and potential frustration.

Better to Do Both?

Frankly, if you can afford it, it’s better to have both an online shop and a brick-and-mortar storefront. This way, you can appeal to shoppers through both channels. Yes, you’ll have to budget carefully, but you’ll have up to double the client base which will seriously increase your revenue. And if you find that one isn’t as profitable as you’d like, you can always scale back store hours or shut down your website.

Small businesses can thrive in today’s market with hard work and smart planning. This is why we suggest you look over our blog for more tips on growing your business. Or you can check our calendar for workshops led by experienced professionals.

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