With the massive rise of eCommerce shops (online shops like Amazon), it begs the question whether a physical shop is still the best way to go these days? As with any complicated question in life, a complicated answer must follow. We will break down the pros and cons we see in getting either a physical or eCommerce shop in this article. You cannot say that one is better than the other. It is all situational.
There are online shops making millions and there are physical shops that are making millions. Both have massive pros and cons. Ultimately, you are going to have to use your nouse to figure out which is the best for your business and why.
Let’s have a look into some of the reasons for and against the online and physical shop and see which you think is the most suitable for your business. As your shop fitters in Glasgow, we are going to write a series of weekly blogs to help you on any sort of shop venture. If you can’t find what you need in our writing, feel free to get in touch with us!
Online shops have lower start up costs
This is generally true. However, people miss a massive aspect of the cost of an online shop and we will get to that soon. So, you can start a website for some £50. That is if you spend the bare minimum. Someone is going to have to build your website if you do not want to. On top of that, in order to make your website safe and secure, you will need software such as Shopify or WooCommerce. These act as your software to make sure payments go through safely from customers.
So yes, an online shop can be relatively cheap to start up. You are looking at a decent amount of time and a bit of money. This could be £50 and 4-6 weeks learning and building a website, or it could be £1,000 – £10,000 + for someone to make your website.
On the other hand getting a shop fitter like us to build your shop out, rent the space or buy the space is going to cost thousands. Probably tens of thousands. Across a year a shop might cost you anywhere from £10,000 to £50,000+. Then you have to think of all the maintenance, cleaning and repair costs that have to go on. The expense is far higher in a physical shop.
So, it looks like the online shop wins here.
This is what most people would say, anyway.
They forget one crucial thing.
How are people going to find your website? If you do not spend any money getting your website found, it will not be found. A shop occupies space, hopefully in a decent location where people can walk past and wonder into your shop. If you make a website tomorrow, it is going to be lost amongst the other millions and millions of websites fighting for poll position.
In order to get traffic to your website you will need to buy ads. This could be anything from £400 a month to £4,000 a month. Quickly, your ‘super cheap shop investment’ starts adding up to much more.
This goes back to the original premise – know what you are getting and why. Don’t just go for a physical shop because you prefer it. Which is better for your business model?
Online shops are quicker to start
We would tend to agree with this but it depends on the situation. If you want shop fitters like us to come in and rip the place out, design a new shop then fit the shop, then yes, you might be able to get a good website up in that time. However, a good website is going to take time to get right. You might make the site, add the products then remember you need traffic. Now getting the advert right and at the right cost takes you several weeks. Then your website does not get anyone to buy your products! So it is back to the drawing board to make your shop more accessible and alluring for people to buy from you.
We would say, in terms of speed, does it matter if one can be started quicker than the other? If you can afford to wait (even if it’s better not to wait in business but sometimes you have to be patient) and the physical shop is your better option, then, it makes sense to wait! Don’t jump on one solution or the other for an arbitrary reason like ‘it is faster’. Yes, speed in business matters, but impatience does not pay unless it is a rational decision. The best businessman, eCommerce store owners and shop owners make excellent long term decisions.
Why not both?
There are pros and cons to both the online and physical store. It really just comes down to your business model and what will work best. It is hard not to be biased but you really have to try not to be. Go for what will be more successful then you can make the other one anyway! Let’s say you want to sell fishing rods.
You know that an online shop will do better. You will be able to pull in more people who are looking for fishing rods through targeted adverts than are walking down the road in Glasgow. However, you have always wanted a physical shop. So, make the online shop a success as it should be, then you can open your physical shop at a loss in the future if you want. Money gives you freedom of choice and options. You need the money first before you can open a shop that loses money.
Also, in some cases, you aren’t going to need to choose one of the other. If you have the money, it could be worth launching both ventures. See which one works better. The physical shop or the online shop and which will have the most advantages. Remember though, if you do in fact go for the physical shop, we are here and waiting to help give you the best support, guidance and shop fit imaginable! Thank you for reading.