While growth in e-commerce continues to outstrip brick-and-mortar sales, offline sales are still 10 times bigger than online sales in the US. Many shoppers like the hands-on approach and for some goods, such as clothing, shopping in-store offers a more comprehensive way to check fit and quality. If you’re thinking of following in the footsteps of retail giants like Amazon and taking your stock into the mall, a good first step is to join trade shows and exhibits to increase exposure of your brand and meet your customers face to face.
Transport and delivery
If you decide to move your business offline, transport will become a necessity. For hauling a variety of cargo to a trade show stand or pop-up shop, a small pickup is ideal. It would also suit your needs for making deliveries as part of your new offline presence. Although you will want to keep delivery costs competitive, it’s still important to correctly assess your vehicle and labor costs. Adding together all the running costs and dividing by the number of deliveries you make will give you a rough idea of how much you should be charging.
Meet customers face to face
Once you’re on the road, you can take advantage of setting up pop-up shops or taking a stand at a local market. This is low-cost way to engage with customers face to face, let them see your goods and try things on and is especially effective at peak shopping times like Christmas. This may be all it takes to generate brand awareness and see a rise in online sales but if you feel like you need a more permanent presence, look into taking on a store.
A permanent storefront
There are still plenty of people who don’t use the internet for everything including 34% of US senior citizens, so creating an O2O business makes a lot of sense. However, don’t underestimate the costs of rent, permits, insurance, and fitting and give careful thought to the size and location of your store as this can affect the running costs hugely. Your online presence can continue to serve as an effective marketing tool, covering social media and other platforms, and it will remain vital to sales. Whether buying online or offline, still an estimated 81% of shoppers conduct online research before making big purchases.
Creating an offline presence may seem counterintuitive in today’s retail environment. However, statistics show that there is still a huge market for offline sales and a leaning towards combining online research with hands-on purchases and a personal touch.