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Should Retail Business Owners Completely Ditch Their Brick and Mortar for E-commerce ?

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Brick and Mortar versus E-commerce is a great debate today among business owners. The answer isn’t as simple as I’d like for it to be. They are both still very relevant and have a place in the retail landscape.

What we know today is even though consumers are not buying at the same pace they were Pre-COVID, they are still buying clothing, shoes, and beauty products in a shopping center, but even more online.

Brick and Mortar: Let’s Take a Look at Why You First Got it

Should you keep your brick and mortar? The answer is 50% of you with a storefront should keep it, and the rest of you shouldn’t. Let me explain. The first thing to remember is why you got your storefront. You got it to capitalize on foot traffic, to give your customers a location to shop your line conveniently and to use the extra space as storage for ALL your inventory.

OK, let’s dive into those reasons a bit further. Right now, Coronavirus has lasted in the air longer than anyone could have predicted. Because of it, the majority of the American population is staying home and only coming out to shop the essentials. With that in mind, foot traffic is no longer a reason to hang onto your brick and mortar.

The second reason, “giving your customer a location to shop your line conveniently,” is no longer the truth during the pandemic. What is convenient for your customers is your online store.

The third reason, “using the extra space as storage for ALL your inventory,” is still valid, but there are storage places everywhere, and if you shop around, I bet you can find one for less than your storefront’s rent.

Now, for some companies, especially those that have been around for a great deal of time, it makes sense to keep your brick and mortar. If your store is a mixed-use space, there is still great value in your storefront, even during a pandemic. Also, if you have mastered and trained your team on how to safely reopen and disinfect your store every 2 hours without exhausting your funds, then by all means keep it open.

All of that to say, right now brick and mortars at this time in life are more of a hassle and cash suckers right now. Make a pros and cons list and do what’s best for your business. No one knows the data better than you!

E-commerce

For too long, e-commerce was at the tail end of conversations in business meetings and wasn’t deemed a must-have until now. Why the shift? Because online is where all the traffic, money, time, and attention is today. I could end this post here. But let’s dive in a little more.

The saying, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket,” is still valid when it comes to your product/service distribution. Unless you have an unlimited advertising budget, your product still needs to be in places where it can be found. Sadly your website is not enough. This doesn’t mean you should go and lease a new storefront. It just means you have to get creative with your outreach and online marketing. Utilizing influencers to help get your product in front of more eyes is only one of the ways you can get creative.

To Close

I think the best thing to keep in mind when deciding between a brick and mortar and e-commerce during this pandemic is to ask yourself where are my customers.

For the majority of retail business owners that answer is online. For retailers reading this saying, they’re in both places my advice is to put the same level of detail you put in making sure your customer’s experience is one they’ll enjoy and want to keep coming back to, also in your online experience.

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