Why you should expand your offline business, online

(Because more money, duh)

But seriously, taking your brick and mortar store online is a low-cost investment with a high ROI.

Cost-effective Growth

Expanding your brick and mortar store can cost upwards of hundreds of thousands of dollars or more. This can be a huge burden to take on as a growing business. Also, it is still limited in reach beyond the local area.

Some examples of the high expenses to brick and mortar growth:

  • New location and building costs
  • Additional inventory — product, delivery, display, etc.
  • New employees — training, salary, benefits

Very quickly a brick and mortar expansion becomes a very high financial overhead cost. And if sales are low, this can really hurt your entire business, not just the new location.

Brick and mortar expansion is also a huge time and mental investment. You need to source, select, and set up everything that goes into a new business –essentially starting a brand new business from the ground up.

Conversely, expanding your business to selling online can cost as little as a few hundred dollars, while reaching a much larger audience, equating to more potential sales.

Some costs you will likely expect when expanding to online:

  • Setting up a website
  • Shipping materials
  • Possibly new employees to aid in order fulfillment and new sales

Benefits to expanding to online:

  • No need to double your inventory for a new virtual location
  • Keep the same building and location by operating from your brick and mortar location

Even if initially your sales are low, your total increase in overhead costs is not drastic because you are still operating with a very small change in month-to-month costs.

Round-the-Clock Sales

Your online store never closes, providing you with a way to generate money no matter what time of day it is.

Warren Buffett very clearly states why this is so important –

If you don’t find a way to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die.”

Your online business now becomes a 24 hour money making machine. Use it to grow your revenue!

Expanded Brand Awareness

You’ve worked hard to make your brand mean something to your local customers. People in town know to come you for solutions that meet their specific needs. By setting up an online store you can expand your reach to a customer base beyond your local area, creating broader awareness.

Often, your website is the very first thing customers will see for your business, even for those that are shopping at your brick and mortar store. With a strong online presence, you build trust and show value to your customers; two very important factors for a successful business.

Increased Customer Reach

Increasing your customer reach can be a HUGE revenue generator. As stated before, being confined to your geographical area limits your sales potential. With adding an online store, you no longer have to wait for someone to walk into your store to buy your products.

Additionally, let’s say you have a relatively niche product, selling a special brush for Maine Coon cats. You may have pretty good sales in your town, but there are only so many Maine Coon owners where you are. If your product was available to everyone in the state, country, or world that owned a Maine Coon then your sales could take off like a rocket!

Added Brand Value

Your brand value can be incredible at generating sales. A quick example: Tide laundry detergent is more expensive than other brands, though it can be argued it is essentially the same ingredients as everything else on the shelf. Yet, Tide is able to sell at a higher price because the perceived brand value is higher than the other options.

Creating an online presence helps aid in increasing your perceived brand value, expertise, customer support, and likability for your brand. And with this, you will be seen as the go-to business within your industry, both in your local market and online.

Increased Customer Engagement

Engaging with your customers builds your business. Customers will think of you when they need something because you are top of mind and they will remember how you treated them before.

With an online store you will also increase your availability with customers. They can turn to you to research products, ask questions, or find answers to their problems through your site. You are also able to more easily store customer information, allowing you to interact with them — such as celebrating birthdays, following up after a customer bought a specific product to hear their experience, or recommending similar products.

Increased Customer Satisfaction

By selling online you provide more options for customers. And everyone likes options. Customers can order online, shop online, visit the brick and mortar store to buy, or compare different brands on their own time. And with more options, you provide a simple way to increase satisfaction with your business and brand.

You Can Still Do Both…

Online expansion will not make your brick and mortar store become obsolete. Customers still want to touch and see products if they are local to you. But, your online store becomes an easy way to grow and provide supplemental income with very little cost in both time and money. Additionally, an online store adds flexibility to the rigidity of your brick and mortar store, allowing you to grow and provide your customers more ways to purchase.


P.S. — Help wanted and a shameless plug for myself:

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