LMFF Retail specialising in retail product reviews. We keep up to do date on the current state of retail in Australia both online and in store.
Why Customers Purchase Online
Aside from the ability to compare product specifications and browse reviews, online shopping has a number of other advantages:
- Being able to shop 24/7
- Saving money—online shopping allows the customer to compare pricing and find the best possible deals
- Not having to use a personal vehicle and deal with parking and other issues or take transit to shop in-store
- Saving time—in-store shopping can be hugely time consuming, particularly if it involves visits to multiple stores in different locations
- Convenience—many people dislike crowds, cashier lineups, etc. and prefer to shop from home
- Availability—hard to find items are much easier to source online
- Free shipping is sometimes available from online vendors. For example, for a small yearly fee the Amazon Prime service includes free shipping on most items ordered through Amazon.
One of the major lessons retailers need to learn from the current economic situation is the importance of having an online store. Companies that were able to sell their products and services online during the recent lockdown fared much better than those who didn’t. The importance of e-commerce will continue into next year and beyond, with worldwide online sales expected to reach almost 5 trillion by 2021. Also, by 2040, as much as 95% of shopping will be done online. Now that we have established the importance of e-commerce, let’s take a look at the advantages of each.
Why Some Customers Prefer Brick-and-Mortar Shopping
- Being able to physically interact with an item before buying, particularly with personal items such as clothes, cosmetics, furniture, etc. or with grocery items that need to be checked for quality and freshness
- Goods can be obtained immediately rather than waiting for shipping
- Customer service—the ability to speak directly to a sales representative and get further information and advice about products or services
- Avoiding shipping costs
- Avoiding the hassle and complexity of returning unwanted items
- Much faster and easier to return a defective or unwanted product in-store rather than shipping back to an online retailer
Online Stores are Much Cheaper to Open
In general, opening a business as an online store is much cheaper than a retail storefront. Unlike a retail storefront, there is no rent to pay or other utility bills directly related to the store, except for web hosting and technical support. You do not have to decorate the inside of the store, purchase inside and outside signage or display units. Since you can manage the work yourself, you do not have to hire additional employees.
With an online store, your costs are directly related to your website, shipping and accepting online payments. You must pay for your desired domain name and may pay someone develop your website and e-commerce platform, which can be expensive, but is less expensive than opening a retail storefront.