Should E-commerce Merchants Have A Physical Presence?
The pandemic pushed online sales forward. Now that growth is starting to slow down. Post-pandemic, there is a strong emotional desire to once again shop in person, and e-commerce merchants are wondering: Is it time to build a physical presence?
The pandemic pushed online sales forward. Now that growth is starting to slow down. Post-pandemic, there is a strong emotional desire to once again shop in person, and e-commerce merchants are wondering: Is it time to build a physical presence? Evidence supports a move into physical sales, with two-thirds of shoppers more likely to shop online if they can return to a physical location due to their convenience.
Here are reasons you might consider opening a physical location, alternatives, and strategies for success.
Products with compelling physical properties
Shopping for new clothing, spices, beauty products, cars, and many other items provides excellent in-person experiences, and can be good candidates for a physical location. However, some products such as cosmetics and food may still face temporary or permanent Covid-19 limitations. This may change how shoppers interact with these products now and long term. You’ll want to factor in the possibility of temporary shutdowns.
Large cultural events
Concerts, festivals, and casual local encounters demand physical experiences such as Coachella, Burning Man, and SXSW. If you have a substantial online following and customer base, it may be time to up-level marketing and participation in such events to entice new customers and create touchpoints for existing customers.
Create smaller experiences
On the opposite end are smaller experiences that can occur in a physical location, such as a local cooking class showcasing your inventory, or wine and art shows that provide foot traffic with pop-up booths. These could test the waters for a permanent, physical space.
Marketplace partners’ physical locations
If you’ve expanded to Amazon, Walmart and others, their massive footprint could be the logical step to your physical sales. This is a significant commitment with thousands of locations, more competition, and higher digital media spending.