Physical retail has existed for a longer time than ecommerce, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to last for the long term. Horses were used as modes of transportation for many centuries, but then cars came along. Our belief is that there has never been a better time to start a Shopify store, as judging by the sheer number of advantages over physical retail - it’s highly likely to completely dominate the retail industry in the near future.
We believe that there's a first mover advantage to getting setup with your own store as soon as possible and start growing before every retailer moves their store online. If you have the proper guidance and know exactly what to do, you can still succeed if you start from scratch today.
You just need to convince yourself to get started and hopefully our comparison helps you make a decision.
Physical retail stores cater mostly towards the local community and occasional traffic from the outside world (e.g. tourists). This limits how much a standalone physical store can grow because there’ll probably always be a limited number of available customers at any given time.
On the other hand, Shopify stores have a global customer base, meaning that almost anyone with an Internet connection can order products from your store. With everything setup the right way, you can send your products to most people in the world in a highly efficient manner - resulting in happy customers and more profit were you.
It's a wonderful time to start a store. ecom wins this round with its inherently high scalability and ease of access.
The costs of starting a physical retail store can be very high and intimidating. You’ll have to factor in costs such as: rent, utilities, equipment, inventory, etc. These can add up quite fast and eat into your already slim profit margins.
Thankfully, we have ecom to work with, with typically much lower costs. It doesn’t cost much to setup a store, social media channels, etc. Best of all, you don’t really need inventory or storage space. The customer pays you first, then you order from the supplier at a lower cost, then the supplier sends the product directly to the customer.
Other than ordering a few samples to start with, you typically never have to make contact with the actual product (i.e. unless you scale big enough to start private labelling, which we also help our clients with). Ecom wins this round for its much lower costs relative to physical retail.
Let’s talk about convenience. Physical retail stores must stay in one location unless you open multiple locations (i.e. with added cost, hassle, and risk).
From a customer point of view, they may not want to come all the way to your store just to buy a miscellaneous product. They usually rather order online and have the product delivered straight to their door; this is where ecom comes in - the best way to really feel this is to start a store for yourself.
Ecom wins this round with its highly convenient nature - customers don’t even have to leave their home to make a purchase.
BARRIERS TO ENTRY
With a high likelihood of competitors all wanting a piece of the local community, there can be high barriers to entry in the world of physical retail. Paperwork and contractors (e.g. accountants, bankers, etc.) can be overwhelming for someone starting their first physical retail store.
A Shopify store can be setup and start selling within a day. With low competition (i.e. global customer base; lots of customers for all store owners), the barriers to entry are basically non-existent. You can make the journey even easier by seeking help, rather than trying to do everything yourself.
Ecom wins this round as you can literally start a store right now, but you might have to go through a much more complicated route for a physical store.
In physical retail, you may be stuck in one location, keeping yourself busy enough that you won’t have time for anything else other than sustaining your store. You might not be able to spend quality time with family and friends, or work on other projects.
Ecom changes the game because your entire store can be managed from your laptop or phone. This allows you the freedom to travel whenever you want and do whatever you feel like. When you feel like working, just pull out your mobile devices and get to work.
Ecom wins this round because the time and location commitments are typically a lot more relaxed than physical retail, providing you enough time to focus on other aspects of life: health, relationships, lifestyle, and contribution. You can save even more time by getting proper support.
NO IDEA WHERE TO START?
In our in-depth comparison, you can see that ecommerce easily takes the lead over physical retail. The trend of ecom slowly overtaking physical retail in popularity has been made widely apparent in recent years.
Do you understand the benefits of starting a Shopify store but you have no idea what products to choose, which suppliers to trust, and how to code a store properly?
Consider our many different approaches to help you out, such as building a store for you, HERE.