How To Choose Between An Online Store Or Bricks And Mortar

When starting a business, it can be hard to choose between a physical store or an online one.

It is no secret that the eCommerce industry has been booming in recent years. But, does that mean it is the right option for your business?

The New Zealand online retail market is growing. It is worth around $4.2 billion a year. About 9% of all retail sales in New Zealand are made online, which is the same rate as Australia despite our significantly smaller population size.

In one year alone, eCommerce sales have increased by 16%! About a third of our population is shopping online and make an average of 22 transactions throughout the year.

This is definitely a sales medium to watch!

If you are trying to decide between an online store or a physical one, you might want to consider the following things:


Physical Stores

A lot of people still prefer to visit a physical store so they can see products in person before they buy. They might want to be sure of the quality or suitability before making a purchase.

Having physical stores can also help to increase consumer awareness of your business. If they see your store as they drive around town or in busy shopping centres, they will recognise and remember the brand. It could mean they are more likely to make a purchase from you.

The downside of a physical store is that they cost a lot of money to maintain and operate. You would be paying rent and utilities for a brick-and-mortar shop, which in busy town centres and cities could cost you thousands every week.

Online Stores

With an online store, you will have significantly less upfront cost. Your only expenses are your staff, stock, storage and insurances. If you choose to use a drop shipping method – where you sell stock online directly from the supplier warehouse - you don’t actually have to hold any stock and can reduce these costs even further.

There are also a lot fewer operating restrictions for an online store. You aren’t bound to a 9-5 routine. You can sell to the whole world any day and anytime, as your sales and inventory are all managed automatically by your eCommerce system.

Which Do People Prefer?

Online sales are only going to get more and more popular. Consumer age has a lot to do with shopping preferences. 67% of Millenials prefer to shop online, compared to 41% of baby boomers. The natural assumption is that as Millenials get older and there are fewer boomer consumers, the demand for online shopping will increase exponentially.

Modern consumers prefer online shopping for a multitude of reasons. You can often get cheaper deals online, as the overhead costs for the business are lower so the customer also gets a better price. It can also be hard to find particular or rare items in physical stores, especially if you live in a small town that doesn’t have many options. It’s much easier to find items online and get them sent to you.

Which Is Right For You?

Well, the answer to that question will be based on who your target audience is. If you are targetting a younger, more modern consumer, then eCommerce is probably the way to go. Yet, if your audience is a slightly more mature one who would rather touch and feel what they are going to buy before purchase, then bricks and mortar might be the way to go.

People can prefer the convenience of shopping from the comfort of their own home, without having to worry about overcrowded stores and long queues. This can be a particularly attractive option for people with young children or people who have busy working lives. Everything you need can be delivered straight to your door.

Even if you do choose to have a bricks and mortar store, it is imperative to have a web presence also. That way, you have all of your bases covered!

Your web presence needs to be a quality one, so if you need help creating (or updating) your eCommerce website, then get in touch with us here at Creative Web Designs. We specialise in high quality Shopify websites. Drop us a line today.