A study conducted by Invesp, the annual e-commerce sales is showing an upward tick if 19% globally in general and 10% in the US in particular. The biggest beneficiaries besides the promoters of these e-commerce businesses are the customers.For a customer, the biggest advantage is that online shopping saves a lot of time, besides voluminous product selection. Also, an online shopper saves on taxes, the money spent on fuel and the inflated prices being offered by the offline businesses. At the same time, the retailers also stand to gain a lot too. Let us see how retail stores are gaining from this business.Online presenceThe bottom line for the physical retailers to gain is to set up an online presence. As we are aware, almost 80% of the online community use Internet to buy something or the other. As an offline retailer, your patrons expect your brand name to be available online. If you have an online presence, your company is also on par with the e-commerce firms. Those customers will have unflinching loyalty towards your company. They will visit your retail store for monthly purchase and if they want anything more other than the routine purchases, then they will visit your website and order that particular items. If a retailer does not have an online presence, their competitors will simply search for an e-commerce portal and order things directly, that way a retailer loses a customer both on and offline.
Gaining new patronsThe basic idea of an entrepreneur is to add more customers, be it an e-commerce player or a retailer. As a physical retailer has limitations in terms of branding and customer relationships in comparison to the exclusive online retailer, who has the advantage of getting customers through search engines. If an online retailer is smart enough to do Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), the moment a prospective customer search for a particular product, say, a mobile phone, he/she will straight away land on your company's home page, no matter whether this new customer had heard about your company or not. So, like exclusive online retailers, physical retailers can also adopt these methodologies of setting up an online store and investing in enhancing the search engine through SEO techniques. Besides your retail offline sales, your online business will also grow in tandem.Operational CostsAs a physical retailer, you end up paying the staff, operational costs and additional expenses. While you also have an e-commerce store, you can actually save a lot of money. With the web-based management system in place, you can actually automate inventory management and no overhead cost is involved as an individual can manage the entire online administration. So, what you gain through the online venture, you can compensate on your physical store by paying the overheads and other expenses.AdvantageMany physical retailers are known for their brands and they have the presence across the country. Even then, these firms have solid online presence and sales happen through online as well. There are specific items a customer might look for from a retail outlet, but the same customer will go for something different if that person sees a variety of products available on the company’s website. For instance, if a customer visits Lewis retail outlet to buy a jean and she buys it and returns. When she visits Lewis e-commerce website, she sees a combo offer, if you buy denim jeans, then she will get another one for free. Obviously, she will buy it online. So, that is the advantage of a physical retailer to have the online presence as well.