The Differences Between an Online Shop and Physical Storefront
eCommerce continues to be the driving force for many businesses, though physical retail locations can play an essential role in enhancing growth and meeting customer expectations.
Hybrid models that pair online shopping and physical store locations unlock new sales and customer engagement opportunities for many businesses. Understanding the differences between these two business types is important for meeting customer expectations and surviving in an increasingly competitive business environment.
No matter what type of store you operate, or if you’re seeking a hybrid business model, understanding and capitalizing on search engine optimization is critical. While you can complete some facets of online search engine optimization on your own, a high-quality and experienced eCommerce SEO agency can help position both your online and physical store initiatives for sustained growth.
What Is Online Shopping?
Online shopping is the purchasing of goods and services over the internet. Online shopping has risen to be the dominant shopping type in many market sectors as consumers favor it for its convenience, including the ability to shop at any time and from anywhere. Consumers also prefer online shopping as it allows for the easy comparison of prices and product features.
Despite its benefits, there are many disadvantages to online shopping. Those drawbacks include that consumers cannot actually touch, use, smell, or see the items they are ordering. There are also persistent worries about online scams and security issues. Furthermore, though supply chains are helping to alleviate some of this problem, it typically takes days to receive an item once it is purchased. While many online stores have improved the process, returning products can be complicated, time-consuming, and incur additional costs.
What Is Traditional Shopping?
Traditional shopping is shopping that takes place in a physical storefront. The consumer goes to the store, peruses items for sale, makes the purchase, and brings the item home.
The disadvantages of traditional shopping are that it is time-consuming and less convenient. Consumers need easy access to the store they want to shop at; they must get to that location, park, walk around, deal with people they may not want to deal with, and then make a purchase that often happens without the benefit of easy price and features comparison.
On the positive side, though, in-person shopping experiences can also be enjoyable, there is little risk of fraud, and it is relatively easy to return products.
Pros of Online Shopping
- Customers can shop anywhere, anytime.
- Shoppers can choose from a wide variety of items available for purchase
- It is easy to compare prices and find the products and features that fit their budget and needs
- It is easy to shop for second-hand or used items
- Sending gifts is easier
Cons of Online Shopping
- Customers don’t have the chance to physically see or touch the items they order.
- The item delivered may not be as stated in the product description.
- Customers have to wait for the items they bought to arrive
- Customers are often responsible for shipping and postage charges.
- Items may be damaged in transport.
- Online checkout experiences can be difficult, with many sites requiring customers to register and create an account.
- There is a risk of online fraud, and some websites and sellers may threaten online security.
- Online shopping can be dull and unexciting.
Pros of Traditional Shopping
- Customers can touch and see the products they buy and even try on clothes or sample food items.
- Despite the ease of online shopping, many shoppers enjoy face-to-face communication with other customers and store workers.
- Product returns are generally straightforward.
Cons of Traditional Shopping
- Shoppers are limited to shopping at stores that are close to them.
- There may be struggles with transportation, parking, and access.
- Store hours are generally limited and may be inconvenient for shoppers with busy schedules.
- Traditional shopping may offer a more limited selection of items.
- Price and feature comparison is sometimes difficult.
Marketing for Traditional and Online Retailers
Online and traditional retail require different marketing approaches, but both require marketing. Marketing for both retail types hinges on building brand identity and a customer base. In conventional stores, we direct marketing to local buyers. In online marketing, efforts narrow the customer base to a wider audience.
Search engine optimization is key to being found for both online and traditional stores. SEO is critical for online stores as it helps them rise to the top of the search engine results page. However, it is also vital for traditional stores to use SEO to be found by local shoppers, differentiate themselves from nearby competitors, and showcase their strengths and talents.
The rising trend of online retailers investing in physical stores shows how hybrid models can have strong market benefits. Physical stores can enhance a brand’s image and add value for customers. They can also facilitate online shopping by providing a convenient way for shoppers to buy online but use curbside pickup in place of postal shipping.
Contact the marketing pros at Digital Authority Partners today to learn more about gaining a foothold in both online and traditional markets.