The explosion of the Internet has completely transformed the way we do things. It has led to the creation of many industries that have replaced pre-existing sectors due to their ease-of-access and convenience. Brick-and-mortar stores are no exception to this rule.
In 2019, an estimated 1.6 billion people shopped online. In developed countries like the US, Australia, UK, Canada, etc. people are increasingly shopping online instead of going to their local brick-and-mortar stores.
Brick-and mortar stores are simply unable to compete with their online counterparts due to various reasons. Firstly, brick-and-mortar stores require a physical presence, which results in expenses like rent, salaries, utility bills, etc. Brick-and-mortar stores have high operating costs, which can drive down margins by a significant percentage.
Compared to this, online stores require virtually no effort. All you need to do is build a website, list your products, and market them over the Internet? What’s amazing is that you can market your products all over the world. A brick-and-mortar store is limited by location – it can only rely on local residents as its customer base. But the easy access to the Internet and fast shipping processes means that anybody, from any corner of the world, can purchase a product from you and have it delivered in a matter of days or even hours.
And then there’s the convenience factor. What would you prefer – driving across town to get to the supermarket and driving back home again or shopping online and having the products delivered to your doorstep? It’s an absolute no-brainer. In today’s world, people no longer have the time to go all the way to a store when they order the same online and get it delivered.
Then there’s the fact that a physical store offers only a limited number of products. For instance, physical stores may not always have enough spare parts in their inventory. As a result, customers who need to replace the parts of their machines or gadgets need to wait for the items to be stocked by the store. However, online stores can connect you with suppliers from all over the globe, who will have the product shipped to you in a jiffy. No more having to wait for weeks for new parts!
For niche stores, online shopping websites are a blessing. Online niche product stores are popping up all over the place as the Internet has significantly expanded their customer base. Some of them even have forum boards and social networking features, which allow different people from all over the world with similar interests to group together and discuss their favorite products. Brick-and-mortar stores can hardly offer such experiences.
The Gen Z and Millennial generations are avid users of the Internet and account for a significant majority of online shoppers, who are comfortable making their purchases online. You can market in a much more direct manner to them via online marketing methods and gain customers.
Like the bullock cart and the steam engine, brick-and-mortar stores are on their way out as well. The Internet has eliminated the need to accommodate inefficiencies and is giving rise to highly-efficient systems – and online shopping websites are one of them. The writing on the wall is clear – The future belongs to those who make use of the Internet to sell their services or products.