In my previous post, I wrote about why you should not have a store front. Of course with all ideas, there are pros and cons to everything. It’s up to you to decide what’s best for you in your particular situation and different business have different needs.
1. Store fronts provide the store owner with walk in traffic – This may be more beneficial for some store owners than others. For instance, if you are next to restaurants or other businesses that receive a lot of foot traffic, you may be able to receive a portion of that traffic because of the proximity they are to your business.
My father’s third store was next to a hair cut establishment that provided quick hair cuts with an emphasis on catering to men and kids. I’m not sure if my father intentionally placed the store next to the hair cut business, but it paid dividends. For instance, if a family of four (mom, dad, and two kids) went into the hair salon, while one of the kids or the father was getting their hair cut, a lot of times one or both of the kids would come next door to my father’s store. Many times the parents didn’t buy anything for the kids, or if they did it was usually a small purchase, but a lot of times that short initial visit spawned subsequent visits.
2. Customer Interaction – As “connected” as we are today, nothing beats a face to face chat. If you have a website, you can call customers, e-mail, chat over Gtalk, or even chat over video, but it’s difficult to pick up on the tone of the speaker or their body language.
3. Establish Relationship and Trust – When the customer is in front of you, you are able to establish a relationship with him or her. There is an instant bit of trust involved in this connection even if it is a small. You, the business owner, allow the potential customer to put a business name with a face. If they come back, and they had a positive experience with you, they will find you. You are their connection to your business. This relationship or bit of trust can also be enhanced through your ability to tell jokes. Jokes, most often times, are difficult to convey over a website to a potential customer. It’s interactions and jokes than allow the you to build a rapport and create “raving fans.”
4. Provides Ample Selling Opportunities – It’s easy to suggest other products on a website after a customer has already committed to purchasing the initial product. A website could have “Other Customer’s Also Bought” and other suggestive links before the purchase to create additional sales. A lot of times, for me at least, that doesn’t work. When I feel like I am being pressured to buy, I do the opposite. However, if the sales person can convince me that I need it, then I might consider.
My wife and I were at the wireless store. She needed a new cell phone because she had lost her phone. She went and picked out the phone she wanted. We were intent on not buying any other accessories since we tend not to use them. However, when we got to the cash register, the salesman suggested we get a screen protector. My wife and I adamantly said “no.” We were fixated on NOT buying any accessories. However, the sales person made a few valid points that the screen will dull over time when placed inside of a jean pocket and scratch through the use of the touch screen. So we ended up purchasing the screen protector, but this would not have happened if we were purchasing through a website because this conversation would not have occurred.
5. Ability to see and feel the product – For instance, a speciality wedding dress shop may have a difficult time selling dresses online. Brides are usually very particular and an in-person measurement is most often times needed. Being able to see a fabric up close and feel its texture, especially for something as specialized as a wedding dress, is essential to most brides. Providing customers in a specialized market a physical shopping experience is almost always vital to making a sale. For a business selling more mundane products, like a book store, a store front is less of a necessity since a book is a product that does not necessarily need to be touched to convey worth and value.
What do you think? Do you have a store? Have you always wanted a store?
Photo by: Striatic
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