Three perks of opening an offline store

Industry Insight

Many online sellers are looking for new ways to improve their eCommerce operations, but perhaps the best way to reach more customers and improve revenue generation is to look offline instead of online. Although the transition from brick-and-mortar to eCommerce operations is much more common, some key online retailers are doing the reverse – they started on the Web but are quickly realizing that expanding offline can help them reach significantly broader audiences.

RetailMinded recently noted several core advantages associated with heading offline. There is no doubt that eCommerce operations are pivotal for reaching modern shoppers, but the incorporation of a brick-and-mortar store could be beneficial.

1. Attach a face to the brand

One of the biggest challenges associated with eCommerce operations is that shoppers deal entirely with technology to make a purchase. Sure, merchants can convey their brands through imagery and text, but at the end of the day, the online shopping experience may feel a bit hollow.

At brick-and-mortar stores, merchants can attach a face to their retail brand. Sales people can interact directly with prospective customers. That's not to say online interactions aren't effective, it's just that customer service agents can have a much greater effect in-store.

2. More order fulfillment options

At some point, retailers will need to expand to keep up with their growth, otherwise they simply won't have enough room to keep all their inventory. Although employing drop shippers and opening regional distribution centers may help, brick-and-mortar stores can also play a pivotal role in both storing inventory and fulfilling orders.

Many merchants have turned to their physical stores as alternate distribution centers. They can sell inventory directly to in-store shoppers, but at the same time, if a nearby customer makes an online purchase, they can also fill the order straight from the store to save on shipping costs. This makes brick-and-mortar locations a huge asset to eCommerce operations.

3. Being there for customers

The way customers shop has changed, and they no longer have preferred means of making retail purchases. Merchants can't call one person an "online shopper" and another an "offline shopper," as they both do what's more convenient for them. Offering a brick-and-mortar location to prospects extends the availability of a retail brand, which gives customers the option to shop in-store if that's what they feel like doing.

Additionally, the world of retail is so competitive at this point that by not doing so, merchants may be giving up these sales to competitors. If someone wants to make a purchase while they are already out on the town, not having a physical location means retailers simply can't engage that individual.

People are spending more money shopping online and as such, eCommerce operations remain pivotal to the success of any modern merchant. At the same time, however, traditional brick-and-mortar stores can add another angle to the shopping experience and are assets retailers should consider purchasing if they don't have one already.