Consumer confidence is high and people are eager to get out and shop in person as the United States begins to exit the pandemic. However, those businesses that embraced e-commerce are hesitant to go back to the brick-and-mortar shops from the pre-lockdown era. Both models have their respective advantages so there is every reason to consider keeping both streams of revenue open.
The Advantages of E-Commerce
As e-commerce surged in 2020, many businesses managed to generate profits while entire cities were locked down. Businesses that moved operations online found they could fulfill customer orders with lower overhead and less human error. Additionally, businesses that were previously limited to customers in a small geographic radius found that an online storefront gave them a much larger reach. This allowed them to generate sales through previously untapped markets both domestically and abroad.
Brick-and-mortar stored that switched over to e-commerce discovered they could build their brands and tap markets beyond word of mouth or their traditional marketing strategy. In short, the advantages of e-commerce are:
- Lower marketing costs (if optimized correctly)
- Greater reach
- Higher sales potential
- Faster transactions
- Ability to build brand awareness at a much larger scale
The Benefits of Brick-and-Mortar Businesses
As more people get vaccinated, cities are relaxing their restrictions and businesses are reopening. People are looking to get back to work and consumers miss the very human experience of shopping in person. We shop with our senses, so being able to see and touch products before we decide to make a purchase is particularly important. We like talking to store employees and asking salespeople questions, instead of relying solely on flat images, questionable customer reviews, and item descriptions which may or may not answer our questions.
In the bigger picture, brick-and-mortar businesses can become well-regarded establishments in their communities, which allows them to become the go-to places for locals to shop. The sales a business with a physical presence generates can potentially be more consistent and reliable than online storefronts. The short list of benefits for brick-and-mortar stores is as follows:
- Face-to-face interaction
- People can see, touch, and sometimes try products before they buy them
- Easy to grow a customer base
- Regular and reliable sales
The Hybrid Model
As we enter the post-pandemic era, businesses that rely entirely on e-commerce or brick-and-mortar stores are leaving money on the table. There is an advantage to having both a physical establishment and an online storefront, so you can make sales to both audiences. You can have your cake and eat it too.
At Web Finance Direct, we provide working capital to online businesses and brick-and-mortar establishments with our accessible and flexible merchant cash advances. To learn more about our MCAs, contact Web Finance Direct today.