E-commerce vs Brick & Mortar stores

The debate of E-commerce vs. Brick & Mortar shopping has been ongoing since the rate of increase of online shopping went sky rocketing and what seemed the most impossible products to be bought online, were bought online more than ever (such as shoes, apparel, etc.)

However, Amazon’s recent move to open its brick & mortar stores and may customer studies have revealed that there may not be much for the retail industry to worry. At the same time, for some product categories the threat is serious. Here are some pointers for you to consider while you construct your answer:

Perspective on economy:

  • E-commerce is growing at a much faster rate than B&M, but revenues in physical stores remain positive (1%-2% growth depending on the source).
  • Even though the shift in share is dramatic, e-commerce still represents less than 10% of total retail sales and is expected to remain below 20% even 5 years from now. (Source article: July 2017)
  • Newer brands, such as Bonobos, Casper, Warby Parker, that were once thought to be trend setters for online shopping, are now opening dozens of physical stores as their online-only plans proved limited and unprofitable. 
  • On its recent move to open its physical stores, Amazon officials said the locations give Amazon's consumers an opportunity to try before they buy.

Why Brick & Mortar Stores

A study in America brings out:

  • The ability to see, touch and feel products as well as take items home immediately rank highest among the reasons consumers choose to shop in stores versus online.
  • Next-day — let alone two-day — shipping cannot fully replicate the immediate gratification of buying products in store and taking them home.
  • Location is important, if you pick a good location, people will drive or walk by your store or business. For many businesses, the location of the business combined with good word of mouth is all the marketing they need.

Why Online Stores

  • For many retailers, going online makes sense because, they don’t require expensive storefronts; instead, more cost-effective warehouses are used to hold inventory. 
  • Low online business. You can get a simple website up for a few hundred dollars. Even less, if you choose to sell through Amazon, Ebay, etc.startup cost is a good reason to get into
  • Working at home is another great perk of owning a web-based business. Not having to commute saves a lot of time.

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