With online sales accounting for over 14% of all retail sales, it’s a wonder if online stores are going to start closing retail shopping altogether. There’s more variety, typically cheaper prices, and you don’t have to worry about hours of operation. But that doesn’t necessarily mean retail doesn’t stand a chance.
Here is everything you need to know about online vs retail stores.
Where Online Stores Succeed
There are a few key reasons why people buy online. The main one is variety. You no longer have to drive long distances to get to a specialty shop and can instead order the item online, typically from a brand you know of.
Another is hours of operation. Stores still have operating hours between 7 AM to 10 PM on average, when most people work from 9 AM to 5 PM, and this doesn’t even include driving. People can order an item online and have it delivered, sometimes even while they’re at work.
Where Online Stores Fail
Online shopping lags behind in customer service. Places such as Amazon, Walmart, and other third-party marketplaces can rig the reviews to make the items look like they’re performing well. This can lead to poorly performing products and distrust in buying online in general.
You also don’t have the same employee-customer interaction, making communication a hassle in many instances.
Where Retail Stores Succeed
Retail still succeeds in customer service. Seasoned employees can easily point out the products that other customers go on about and they have the knowledge to help you out. This is why sometimes it’s worth it to drive those long distances.
You also get the products immediately and companies often offer price matching, which means you don’t lose out by going to the store.
Where Retail Stores Fail
Many stores are still stuck in their way and won’t come down on their prices to meet what online offers. You also have to worry about an item being in stock, as stores can only hold so many items on their shelves, unlike an online store that can use warehouses.
If a store hasn’t implemented self-checkout, you’re also going to need to rely on an employee to quickly get through half a dozen customers. When you have small businesses that only have one employee on staff at a time, you don’t get the service you’re often looking for. You also need to take into account theft when the employee is too busy.
eCommerce Expands, But Retail Isn’t Going Anywhere
At the end of the day, online stores serve their purpose. They help deliver specific items and make it convenient for people that don’t work the normal business house schedule. But retail will still have a place and won’t be disappearing anytime soon, as you still get the products immediately.
If you want to learn more about how the business world is changing, then be sure to check out the rest of our blog. Know someone interested in starting a retail store? Share this article with them so they know what to expect.