Should your business be online or offline?

If you’re one of the 5.5 million business owners in the UK, you might be wondering whether your business should be online or offline. If you’ve spent countless hours agonising over whether your business should have a physical store or whether to go for the online retailer approach and tap into the 65.32 million internet users, help is at hand.

We break down the pros and cons of both online and offline shopping below.

Taking a look at your product

To decide whether online or offline is for you, the first thing you need to do is look at your product. Both online and offline businesses can be extremely profitable, but it all comes down to your offering.

Some things to consider are:

  • Whether you’re offering a product or service – Generally speaking, if your business offers a product, online retail can be more profitable. Without needing to keep a store open, being online means you can forego expensive business rent and get straight to it. If you offer a service, however, this might be best done in person, as you might fail to capture clients if your business is purely virtual.
  • Your commitment – Oftentimes, business owners start their new venture without knowing if it’s going to be successful. If you’re unsure of your offering or feel like your new endeavour is a little risky, going digital might be the best option until you have everything figured out.

Online vs offline: which is right for you?

Benefits of online stores

With everyone now having access to the internet in their back pocket, many stores have abandoned bricks and mortar and switched online. Not only is this more convenient for buyers as they can shop at home or in the office, but it makes it easy for customers to cancel transactions.

It also saves time for customers. Rather than getting in the car and heading to the nearest store, buyers can purchase products in a few clicks. Many stores now offer same-day delivery too, so waiting around for an order is a thing of the past.

Benefits of offline shopping

Although online shopping has many benefits, there are some things online shops simply cannot offer the customer. The main one is a personal touch.

Many customers still like to connect with the person behind the company, so a physical store will help put a face to the business.

Not to mention that if customers want their products as soon as possible, a physical store will offer instant checkout times, no waiting for their order, and no chance of things going missing in transit. But this does come at a price – to cover your overheads you might have to increase your pricing structure, which could deter some buyers.

Final thoughts…

No matter which route you go down, the crux of the matter is this: understanding your customers wants and needs. When you have a deep understanding of your customer base, you can build a business that ticks all the boxes.

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