When a business idea is conceived, most entrepreneurs have an idea of where the business will operate – online, in a physical location, or a combination of both. While running an eCommerce business might seem like the easier option with lower overhead at first, there are several factors to consider when comparing brick and mortar vs eCommerce businesses.
Some types of products just sell better in person – jewelry, furniture, and clothing are examples – because people need to give these items a try before they commit to purchasing. However, if an eCommerce store would work for your business, you can save thousands of dollars each month in overhead without leasing a physical location and the costs associated with it.
To decide which is right for your business, consider the following statistics and research findings on brick and mortar vs eCommerce stores.
Brick and Mortar vs eCommerce Stores
62% want to see, touch, and try out items before buying
Being able to “experience” the product before buying removes a big barrier for a customer. It enables them to see and test out the product themselves, trying it on to see if it fits or holding the color against another to judge compatibility. These things are impossible when purchasing online, no matter how intuitive or helpful the online shopping experience.
Detailed measurements on clothing and comments about fit are nice, but trying on a dress and seeing how it fits is much more helpful. That’s not the only reason brick and mortar locations could be safer than eCommerce stores – the drive to own an item now is another important factor.
49% want to take items home immediately
When a customer purchases something online, the absolute best-case scenario for arrival time is to have the customer pay extra to have the item shipped in 1 business day. More commonly, items are shipped within 2-5 business days.
It’s not the same as seeing something you want, bringing it to the register, and taking it home with you immediately. Paying for an item and not getting it until you’ve forgotten about the purchase a few days later can be frustrating for customers, 49% of whom say they prefer going to a brick and mortar location.
20% say returns are easier in-store than online
Additionally, one-fifth of the participants in Retail Dive’s study said that it’s easier to handle returns at a physical location than it is online, and that’s not surprising. Take a look at the common steps for handling a return for each type of location.
- Bring item and receipt back to store
- Explain reason for return to associate
- Accept store credit or purchase refund and leave
- Log in to customer account, if created
- Locate most recent purchase and ‘Return’ option
- Select the reason for return or write one in
- Input personal information for shipping label
- Print shipping label and packing slip
- Ship product back to company
- Wait for company to receive product and credit your account
18% say they enjoy the experience of shopping in stores
Finally, a little less than one-fifth of participants said they enjoy the overall experience of shopping in stores rather than online; it could be the social interaction, availability of employee assistance, ability to try out items, and mo While online shopping and eCommerce stores are a welcome shortcut for many people who don’t really enjoy shopping in stores (7% of people shop exclusively online whenever possible), it seems that between brick and mortar vs eCommerce stores, brick and mortar locations still win.