The Benefits of Brick and Mortar in an Online World
It can be hard to keep up with the ongoing stream of retail deaths – Toys R Us being the most recent company to fall victim to the e-commerce movement. In today’s world, it can be challenging for retailers to compete with the variety of merchandise and discounts available online. Add to that free fast shipping and the ability to shop from the comfort of your home and we definitely get the appeal. But as a company dedicated to physical spaces, we still see the value in having a brick and mortar location. If the overwhelming trend toward cyberspace has you questioning your businesses’ viability in the real world, here are a few reasons to still consider setting up an actual shop.
- A Local Attraction. Charleston’s tourist industry is booming, and no visitor’s trip is complete without a stroll to downtown’s best shopping areas including King Street for many mainstream retailers and the Cannonborough-Elliotborough neighborhood for local one-of-a-kind shops. Shopping in Charleston is a leisurely activity, not a chore. Often, people aren’t on the hunt for anything specific and are in a spending mood if they’re on vacation. By having a well-stocked store for them to browse, you create an atmosphere for spontaneous purchases.
- A Showroom Experience. Although online shopping offers convenience, people would still rather shop in person with one study finding that 84 percent of Americans prefer to shop at brick-and-mortar stores or at a combination of online and in-store retailers. Convenience cannot compete with the ability to see, feel and touch impending purchases. Shoppers also enjoy the thrill of finding an unexpected treasure and the instant gratification that comes with walking out of the store with their new item.
- The Personal Touch. No amount of branding or time spent on perfecting a website will be a replacement for warm and friendly customer service. With a physical store, you give yourself an opportunity to provide a unique shopping experience that can help you gain repeat customers. If you cater to tourists who can’t shop frequently, you may consider also selling merchandise online so that these customers can continue to purchase your goods long after they’ve departed the Lowcountry.
- Opportunities. With a physical storefront, you create opportunities to attract new customers and make spontaneous sales. You also have opportunities for business growth and a chance to bring in additional revenue by hosting special events like sales, trunk shows, and social gatherings. Consider monthly insider events for your VIP customers or open up your space for girls’ nights out. It’s also a good idea to participate in any local events like Second Sunday and art walks. These are all things people enjoy and they will never be replaced by a browser on their computer.
The bottom line is that while the convenience of digital shopping has cemented its place in nearly every American household, brick and mortar stores still matter. With stiff competition from the online world, it’s more important than ever to choose a space that fits your brand and will bring in your ideal customers. If you’re in the market to lease or buy shop space in the area, get in touch with us so we can help make your business dreams a reality.
Please contact us if you have any questions or comments.