Most small business owners cannot be bothered with the hassle of setting up a website be it informational or an online shop. Since margins are tight expenses of every form need to be justified. Several small business owners I have met and spoken to are very passionate about their business plan and the product(s) they sell. This leads them to try the most obvious way to reach out to customers and that is to set up a physical shop or pop-up stall in the neighbourhood market or a mall in the city. This is definitely a great idea because you are able to test your idea and product in the market and get immediate feedback.
However there are several downsides to relying only on a physical shop to market your goods.
Consider the costs of setting up a physical shop or stall and the incident expenses such as setting up a Point of Sale system to accept credit cards, telephone bills, electricity, insurance costs, security gadgetry to prevent thefts etc etc.
A website on the other hand is a one time cost and can be a handy complement to your brick and mortar strategy. The cost of a website varies but if all you need is an informational website you can get one up and running for what’s even lesser than the Sunday stall fees you pay for 4 Sundays at Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Market.
Remember it’s a one time cost for an almost everlasting asset.
Having a physical shop is a benefit but it could also be a severely limiting factor. Only customers who visit your shop know of your presence. For business owners setting up pop-up shops it becomes even worse when you have to shift your premises. A returning customer may not even be able to find you.
Not so with a website. It has a permanent web presence and can be accessed by customers from any part of the world.
Limited Customer reach
Your physical shop and products are only seen by customers who visit your shop. So let us say that you as a business owner set up shop in the popular Victoria Market precinct. Your customer flow could vary depending on the day that you set up shop there. Add to this the fact that there are several stall holders like you selling almost identical fare. The most important factor to consider here is that your shop is visible only to customers who walk past your shop. Quite possibly someone staying even in the inner suburb of Fitzroy may have never heard of your shop or products. In other words you are losing all those potential customers.
Not so with a website where you can advertise your products to potential customers anywhere in Melbourne or Australia or the world since you are now a global seller on the Internet.
Restrictive Operating hours
All physical shops are severely hampered by the local laws concerning business hours. If you are an independent shop then this may be relaxed to some extent but if you are a small business owner you will have to abide with the rules and regulations of the shopping mall or market precinct where you’ve set up shop.
With today’s online shopping ecosystem, most people like to shop online at their own convenient time and this could be at late hours of the night when your physical shop is most certainly closed for the day. Just imagine what it would be like if you could sell your goods to all those busy executives who only find some spare time in the late evenings after your local mall has closed for the day.
That’s where a pop-up store in a mall or a stall in a market could never compete with an online website. Your website is always available at any time of the day and night to any customer.
Bad shopping experience
Since margins are tight for most small business owners they have to make do with a small space to set up shop. Consider the effort that must go into setting up a shop layout where your customers can freely inspect your goods. This is certainly not possible for most small business owners where space is so restricted that not all the products you are selling can be within easy inspecting distance of a customer. Minimizing thefts if another factor you have to take into consideration when deciding the layout of your shop. All this does not make a great shopping experience for genuine customers who would like to inspect your goods before making a decision.
Setting up an online shopping website is a far more sensible option since it allows your customers to inspect all your goods in a virtual environment without being restricted in any way. If your website is set up to accept payments this would make the sales process efficient and cost effective to you.
There are several more reasons why a website makes sense in today’s internet driven world but the most fundamental reasons are that your business has a wider reach and you certainly get more bang for your buck. Now who’s the business owner who doesn’t want that. Contact us today to discuss your options.