Physical VS online stores from a marketing point of view

After the Covid pandemic, we finally realized which meetings can only be emails, how much work can be done online without going to the office, what can be seen, checked or bought online… We knew all this before, but something had to force us to accept the fact that technology has advanced quite a bit and that we need to make the most of it to develop professionally.

Precisely because of all of the above, an extreme increase in e-commerce was recorded during the pandemic. Do you think it was just temporary? Although physical stores could never be completely supplemented by online stores, we have to accept the fact that e-commerce is a new market that has a great growth tendency.

Therefore, it is necessary to compare the advantages and disadvantages of physical and online stores.

Some people enjoy the shopping experience, visiting the malls, touching the products, and seeing crowds doing the same. However, try to understand how much cinema has lost its importance since Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+ and the like appeared on the market. Are the stores facing the same fate? Probably not. But before we get into the topic from a marketing point of view let’s look at the comparison:

For a traditional shop, you need a physical store where people can go see things, try them on, touch them, use testers, and take an item home with them. It is time-consuming as it requires taking a ride, looking for parking, walking around, waiting in the queue, there are fewer options for price comparison, limited customer base to local shoppers and working hours… On the positive side, someone enjoys this process, there is less possibility of fraud, it is easier to return products and build loyalty.

Bringing up the cons of online shopping, you have no option to see or touch products, you have to wait for them to arrive at your address after the purchase, there is an extra charge for the delivery, the item can get damaged in the transport, there is a risk of fraud, it might be necessary to download an app or create an account to buy, there is a higher return rate… However, online shopping is accessible from anywhere, you can enjoy the bigger choices, it is easy to compare prices and it requires less effort as there is no shop to maintain.

Speaking of marketing, physical and online shops require a different approach. Building brand identity and enlarging customer base are essential for both. However, physical shops focus on the local community while online shops need to cover a wider audience.

Important to point out is a difference between franchises and independent businesses where franchises follow the regional or national setup that makes them a default choice while independent businesses have to develop strategies focused on local customer base, publications and word-of-mouth.

At the same time, online stores have a wider range of promotion tools to use. They can rely on social media, online publicity and paid advertisements. Targeting is more specific as it is possible to focus on a certain age, sex, demographics, location, occupation and so on. Also, a creative social media presence can reduce the costs of advertising.

In conclusion, we can say that both sides have advantages and disadvantages, but hybrid models have stronger market benefits. All you have to do is research the market, take all the factors into consideration, solve the equation and see what works best for YOU.

Photo: Pexels, Karolina Grabowska.