There is no doubt that e-commerce is bigger than ever. However, according to Mark Roemer, new marketing strategies, technology, and other factors may lead to new business strategies and tip the scale at any time. Both sell products and are classified into the same category of “retail”. However, there is much more to that, and here are a few distinguishing factors that may help you make a better business decision in the future:
1. Locations – E-commerce stores and platforms don’t necessarily have a physical location. At least at the beginning to cut off or to keep operational costs to a minimum. Buyers browse the online store, add things to their virtual, cart and upon purchase get their products via mail from the online store.
Brick and mortar stores have completely different operations with their physical store. It may be a single store or a big chain. However, chains of e-commerce platforms are adding e-commerce to their business strategy to create a seamless experience for the customers. On the other hand, e-commerce platforms like Amazon are also experimenting with physical brick and mortar stores to create a similar experience for their consumers.
2. Transactions – Technology is advancing rapidly with the likes of tech giants like Apple, Samsung, and Google introducing their services in brick and mortar stores. Apple Pay and Google Pay along with other mobile transaction platforms are slowly changing the landscape of transactions in brick and mortar stores. However, the keyword here is “slowly”. Most brick and mortar stores operate with checks, cash, or credit cards as the only legal means for buying their goods and services.
E-commerce platforms, on the other hand, can’t accept cash or checks. However, they usually have high flexibility in terms of online payments. Cards, Apple Pay, and even PayPal is accepted. Some rare online stores even accept cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.
3. Flexibility with Omnichannel operations – When it comes to omnichannel flexibility, online stores have a major lead since their business revolves around that. They market their products via social media and search engines. They also have mobile apps to help customers shop through multiple platforms seamlessly and can adopt the usual methods like mailing, SMS messages, and more.
Large chain of brick and mortar stores are also adopting a similar strategy. They also enjoy a direct connection with their customers and can even invite potential customers into their stores to try out their products before purchase. However, this isn’t feasible for the owner of a single brick and mortar store. This makes sense on a larger scale and isn’t worth the hassle, extra manpower, and cost. However, they can focus on the local community with social media or take the novelty approach for a broader appeal.
Mark Roemer believes that if you are deciding on setting up a retail business between online stores and physical brick and mortar stores you should take the above key differences into account. Each has its own strengths and your scale of operations may also dictate your decision.