The Coronavirus pandemic has shaken up industries worldwide and restructured numerous businesses. It is estimated that 41% of businesses closed temporarily due to the pandemic, while around 1.8% have shut down permanently. These numbers are a grim reminder of how difficult it can be to run a brick and mortar store in the modern era.
Many of the businesses that survived the initial days of the pandemic were able to do so by adapting to the new conditions. Social distancing and outdoor seating have become the norm in many places, and numerous offices have switched to work-from-home setups. One of the most notable changes has been the rise of E-commerce.
E-commerce stores existed prior to the pandemic. However, they skyrocketed in popularity once lockdowns went into effect across different countries. A significant percentage of brick and mortar stores have since switched to online operations via an E-commerce store. Let’s examine the advantages of this move, and why more businesses should embrace E-commerce.
Reasons to Convert Your Brick N Mortar to E-Commerce
There are numerous reasons to consider converting your brick n mortar out to an E-commerce store. Some of these reasons are related to the pandemic, while others are the inherent benefits of E-commerce itself.
1. Keeping Sales Going
Many business owners remember how difficult it was to keep their business open during the early days of the pandemic. A large percentage of businesses witnessed a significant drop in sales prior to the implementation of lockdowns. It seemed people simply weren’t shopping anymore. However, a more accurate assessment would be that customers were choosing to complete most, if not all, of their shopping online.
The sudden drop in sales at brick n mortar stores meant that business owners weren’t pulling in enough revenue to pay staff or rent. This resulted in stores reducing their hours of operation, and eventually closing.
Businesses that sold and distributed their products via E-commerce stores did not suffer under such setbacks. In fact, sales for such businesses increased significantly during this period. It is estimated that 23% of U.S residents were using E-commerce stores more frequently during the pandemic.
Businesses that convert their brick and mortar stores to E-commerce stores can continue even when lockdown measures are in-place. This makes it a win-win for business owners and the customers they serve.
2. Improved Product Listing and Promotions
Businesses will also have an easier time listing products and promotions at an E-commerce store than a brick and mortar outlet. If a particular item is out of stock at the store outlet, it won’t be visible for prospective customers to see. However, the same item would still be listed on the E-commerce site. This gives customers access to a more complete product listing.
E-commerce sites can also display promotions more prominently and with fewer costs than brick and mortar stores. Store outlets typically have to set up banners to advertise new promotions and deals, while E-commerce sites simply have to display promotions or pops up on their webpage.
3. Reduced Costs
One of the main advantages of running an E-commerce store instead of a brick and mortar outlet is reduced operation costs. This makes sense when you consider that most of the revenue stores pull in from sales is used to pay for operation costs such as rent and staff wages.
E-commerce stores on the other hand tend to be more affordable to operate, as business owners no longer have to pay rent for their outlets. Instead, they will need to pay the E-commerce website a small percentage cut from each sale. This means business owners can operate their business online without paying for some fixed operation costs associated with brick n mortar outlets.
In addition to this, an E-commerce store requires fewer employees to run than a brick and mortar outlet. This enables business owners to cut down on staff and keep only the most essential workers.
4. 24/7 Sales
Business owners often have to balance their brick and mortar outlet operating costs with sales revenue. For this reason, store timings are often set to hours when sales are highest. Operating a business when few customers are likely to shop often means operating at a temporary loss. Business owners avoid this hurdle by switching to an E-commerce store.
Customers can shop at these online stores whenever they please. E-commerce sites typically do not have operating hours, so business owners can receive orders and sales revenue 24/7 without the high costs associated with 24/7 operation.
5. Reaching New Customers
Choosing the right location is crucial for brick and mortar outlets. Setting up a store in an area that is out of the way or located in a sparsely populated side of town will mean few customers will frequent the business.
With an E-commerce store, the business’s products are available to any customer that is within the store’s delivery radius, which is typically citywide or even nationwide. This means the business will have a larger pool of customers who are able to purchase their products. In this regard, switching from a brick and mortar outlet can boost your sales significantly.
6. More Payment Methods
E-commerce stores also offer more payment methods than brick n mortar outlets. Customers can choose to pay for their online purchase using a debit or credit card, net banking, or cash/card on delivery. This makes it easier for customers to complete payments compared to making purchases in-store.
As you can see, switching business operations from a brick n mortar outlet to an E-commerce store offers numerous benefits. Many of the benefits of E-commerce will still remain once the pandemic is over, so businesses should embrace digital sales while they are still popular.