Online or Offline: Choosing Your Marketplace

The world of business has grown. The walls have been knocked down and geographical boundaries have been erased by the interconnection that the internet providers. Today, even an individual can do business from one location and transact with a customer from clear across the globe. In a way, this levels the playing field between bigger players and smaller business owners. Even with their own limited budgets, small business owners can reach their target customers and generate revenues through various channels. The question now for small business owners is which is more profitable, online e-commerce or offline bricks and mortar stores.

marketplace

There are pros and cons to both. While a bricks and mortar store requires a bigger capital and cash outlay for inventory, it gives customers a tangible place to visit and inspect the goods they want to buy. However, this also limits the store’s customer base to those who are within a certain distance from the store’s location. With an online store, you can reach your customers anytime, anywhere. While you address the accessibility factor, you lose the tangibility aspect that some customers are looking for.

The best marketplace is a combination of both online and offline presence. Although you might not have the capital for a bricks and mortar store, you should at least have a facility to address the need of your customers see you as a real company worthy of doing business with. At the very least, you should have a customer service or technical support facility where your customers can talk to real people about their product inquiries and concerns. You also need a strong logistics and delivery support services especially if you are dealing with fast moving consumer goods. These should be combined with online accessibility that gives your customer the convenience of getting information about your products and services anytime they need it. And with aggressive use of online marketing tools, there is no limit to how far small and medium scale businesses can go.

Image Credit:
Stuart Miles – FreeDigitalPhotos.Net

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