Any interest in bricks-and-mortar retail?

Herts, England - Not specified -
Kudos: 12,651
Joined: Jan 1, 2001
Any interest in bricks-and-mortar retail?
5 Feb 2016
This week there were rumours of Amazon opening 400 bookstores in the USA.

What's your level of interest in bricks and mortar retail? Do you have a store already? If not, are you thinking about opening one? Is an offline store complementary to a online retail business?
Andy Geldman, Web Retailer
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Max Meadows, VA United States
Jax Music Supply
Kudos: 2,513
Joined: May 25, 2009
Re: Any interest in bricks-and-mortar retail?
5 Feb 2016
@Andy I used to have a retail location. I closed it down 2 years ago. I found that I could not adequately manage both pieces of the business and hiring additional retail was not an option. The overhead of additional personnel, rent, tele com, insurance, garbage pickup and more was just not worth it. The biggest headache is driving traffic to the store, just like the web. In the end it wasn't worth it.
NC United States
Kudos: 171
Joined: Apr 12, 2015
Re: Any interest in bricks-and-mortar retail?
6 Feb 2016
Margins are too slim like it is. Not worth it and getting foot traffic is a real challenge.
United States United States
Kudos: 78
Joined: Jul 16, 2015
Re: Any interest in bricks-and-mortar retail?
8 Feb 2016
bricks-and-mortar stores are maybe less profitable today, however, they for sure add a lot to your business profile.
customers have more trust when they know that the store they're buying from is not just a website, it's an actual business with people. We have had many times people calling us before they place orders on our website, asking more about our business.

Having a physical store location, can also give you access to more merchandise, many companies are not interested in more online sellers, as they have enough (- or to many ) of them, but as a company with a physical location you are more likely to get approved for a wholesale account.

[Last edited: 8 Feb 2016]
Nottingham United Kingdom
Kudos: 3,411
Joined: Feb 21, 2014
Re: Any interest in bricks-and-mortar retail?
10 Feb 2016

Our B&M and on-line stores seem to compliment each other quite well. The stores offer personal service and allow customers to actually see the products and feel the quality. Our on-line stores offer a wider choice and lower prices.

As our stores are on the smaller side they do not hold the variations we offer on-line, but when a customer comes in saying 'I've seen this on the internet, have you got it ?' Within a couple of mouse clicks, or a quick call, the item is ordered and on its way to the store in the next days delivery or delivered to the customers home address the next day. The customer will often buy additional items at the store if they pick up their order as well.

We also wholesale to other stores, as well as market traders who are not really bricks and mortar more 'Transit and Gazebo'. However the same situation applies.

For certain goods there will always be the need for a physical store for buyers to 'test' the purchase, however ultimately getting the sale in store, rather than purchasing on-line, depends on service, availability and price.

[Last edited: 10 Feb 2016]
E-commerce , love it or hate it, that's why we are here
United States United States
Kudos: 424
Joined: Oct 7, 2014
Two separate businesses
10 Feb 2016
We have had a B&M store for 30 years, but changes in our local market have impacted us while our online efforts are growing fast. Our situation might be different from some people's in that we produce all our goods in various countries, and some of them require relatively large orders.

For us, it's complimentary, as the store increases our volume and enables us to carry things that don't yet sell in volume on the internet. 36% of our internet sales come from a wide variety of items that it wouldn't be practical to sell only on the internet, so having that B&M store is complimentary. We recruit many web customers from the store. Also, the B&M store enables us to liquidate large quantities of inventory when necessary, which lowers our exposure when we guess wrong on an item.

That being said, there ARE challenges. Running a store requires lots of skills not necessary for an ecommerce business: Sales ability and managing a sales staff. Display and design ability. Advertising and marketing skills. They are really almost two separate businesses, and if you don't have help for the high-level tasks, it's hard to do both well.

In general, B & M stores are under huge pressure from Big Box stores and the internet. I think if you've got the capital to hire a manager and get a prime location, it can be worth it, but don't assume that the skills that made you successful in ecommerce will make you successful in retail.

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