Many businesses who started out as purely online business are now branching out and trying their hand at opening physical locations to accompany their already successful online business. However, just because you’ve found success online doesn’t mean that opening your first brick and mortar store is going to be a walk in the park for you.
To help you make this transition a little easier on yourself as the business owner and on your company in general, here are three tips for opening a physical store as an extension of an online business.
Although your brick and mortar store is meant to be merely a physical manifestation of your online store, it can be difficult to figure out how to integrate these two into one consistent being. Nicole Reyhle, a contributor to RetailMinded.com, suggests that the easiest way to integrate these two pieces of your business together is to focus extremely closely on matching branding. This includes social media and other marketing, advertising, products and more. Without constantly striving to bring these two areas of your business together, you may find that it feels more like running two separate businesses.
Don’t Underestimate the Initial Cost
Starting a brick and mortar store isn’t like starting an online store. Setting up a website that accepts payment and allows you to sell your merchandise can happen relatively easily and without too much upfront cost. But with a physical store, Julie Trade, a contributor to Kabbage.com, shares that the initial costs may be shocking for someone who’s done business exclusively online previously. Things like sales racks and shelves, payment processing systems, decor and more can really start to add up quickly. So before you decide to open a physical store for your online business, make sure you can truly afford it.
Give Customers the Experiences They Miss Online
To justify opening a physical store to accompany your already successful online business, you have to have your brick and mortar location offer something that your customers can’t already get by doing business with you online only. Elizabeth Weise, a contributor for USA Today, writes that a physical location is a great way to give your customers a way to touch and feel your products before they make their purchase. Many shoppers miss this experience when making purchases online, so having a location where they can see the size, quality and colors in real life may prove to be very beneficial to your online sales as well.
If you feel your online business is starting to plateau and you’re looking for a way to up your retail game, consider opening a physical location to work in unison with your online store. Use the tips mentioned above to ensure this endeavor ultimately proves to be a successful one.