Pros and Cons of Selling Through Online Channels Versus A Physical Store

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3 minutes Amid the hype about a “retail apocalypse” — the seemingly relentless shutdown of brick-and-mortar stores — you might think traditional retail is on its deathbed. Not so. In fact, traditional stores still accounted for more than 85% of U.S. retail sales in 2018, according to Internet Retailer. On the flip side, e-commerce maintains its growth spurt. U.S. consumers spent $517.36 billion online in 2018, up 15% from 2017, Internet Retailer says. By comparison, sales at physical stores edged up 3.7% in 2018. Neither brick-and-mortar nor online stores has cornered the market on retail, though. Each type of retail delivers both advantages and disadvantages. Here are six of things to consider: 1. Physical Stores Elevate the Consumer Experience A 2017 survey by online appointment scheduler TimeTrade found that 85% of consumers prefer to shop at brick-and-mortar stores over online stores. “The bottom line is customers value the personal experience of the physical store,” Gary Ambrosino, CEO of TimeTrade, said in 2017. “We found that shoppers have done their shopping or discovery online, then go into the store to get help with their final purchase decision.” Ambrosino pointed out that e-commerce retailers are opening brick-and-mortar locations because they understand the “highly personal service” that can be supplied at a store. Meanwhile, he added, brick-and-mortar retailers are “creating more personal, digital-savvy experiences” to engage shoppers. 2. Online Stores Offer Convenience While many consumers favor in-store shopping over online shopping, making purchases on the internet is decidedly more convenient. In a matter of minutes, you can browse for what you want and then click a few times to complete your order. In some cases, your order can be delivered to your home or workplace in a matter of hours. Although consumers can shop at a traditional store in their pajamas, they probably would want to avoid glares from other shoppers. Online shopping, however, lets someone shop at their leisure, steering clear of traffic, bad weather and other nuisances. Furthermore, online stores are open around the clock and can process purchases every day of the year. 3. Not Everyone Uses the Internet In the digital age, it seems like every American hop online to post pet photos on Facebook, watch music videos on YouTube, read email or go shopping. Yet an analysis released in April 2019 by the Pew Research Center shows 10 percent of U.S. adults do not use the internet. Nonusers include some people in the following groups: People 65 and older People with less than a high school degree People with household income below $30,000 People who live in rural communities As such, online stores cannot reach all prospective customers, whereas physical stores like resale shops typically do. 4. Online Stores Can Expand Your Reach Let’s face it: Not everyone in the world can visit a physical store. By contrast, an online store can meet the demands of local, regional, national and international shoppers. So, your online shop — perhaps a consignment store — can market goods to prospective buyers from Dallas to Detroit, and Toronto to Tokyo. This can be accomplished without setting up brick-and-mortar storefronts. In a whitepaper, professional services company Cognizant noted that merchants can fuel growth by adopting a “retail without boundaries” mind-set. 5. Physical Stores Promote Legitimacy Although consumers increasingly feel comfortable making online purchases, a physical store lends credibility to a business. For instance, as emphasized by Michigan-based Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women (GROW), shoppers might be reluctant to enter credit card data for an online purchase if they are unfamiliar with a merchant, they are unable to physically visit. “There’s an air of legitimacy that storefronts bring to the table, and believe it or not, some people still like to try it before they buy it,” GROW says. “Face-to-face interaction is a big plus as well — there’s value in staffing your store with knowledgeable, friendly people that keep customers coming back for more.” 6. Online Stores Cost Less to Operate GROW points out that while starting an online store requires an investment, it “pales in comparison” to a physical store. An Intuit QuickBooks analysis of Small Business Administration data reveals that it costs an average of $32,000 to open a brick-and-mortar shop. Ongoing costs such as rent, taxes, utilities and labor can build a barrier to brick-and-mortar retail, according to GROW. Platforms such as Amazon, eBay and Etsy enable merchants to sell products or services “with almost no investment at all,” GROW says. However, costs aren’t always lower online. For example, a standalone e-commerce store must promote itself through marketing such as social media, content marketing, search engine marketing and email marketing — all which costs money. Let Talus guide you when choosing a POS system for your business. Contact a representative today! […]

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How To Gain Customers To Your Thrift Store

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4 minutes Opening a resale shop or thrift store is a romantic dream for many. Selling vintage clothes or recycling antiques from yesteryear can be great fun! But a resale shop is also a business. That means you need to bring new customers through the door every day if you want the venture to thrive and survive. To reach new shoppers, you’ll need to use all the traditional methods of marketing and advertising that any other retail business would employ. From printing fliers to creating newspaper, radio and television ads to engaging online with potential customers. However, customer service is paramount in the resale industry, says Adele Meyer, executive director of NARTS: The Association of Resale Professionals. “Customer service is key,” she says. “They won’t get current customers to return or to refer new customers to them if they don’t have a very high level of personalized customer service.”   The Power Of Great Customer Service In fact, treating your customers right is the best way to drive your bottom line higher, according to Meyer. “Word-of-mouth referrals are probably more relevant in the resale industry than in other forms of retail,” she says. That means resale shops and thrift stores need to go above and beyond to meet their customers’ needs — everything from helping shoppers find the right items to suggesting add-on items that will complete an apparel outfit or a furniture setting. “Our member stores focus on customer service that isn’t found in the big-box stores,” Meyer says. “Because of the high level of customer service, many customers refer a shop to their circle of family and friends.”   More Ways To Bring In New Customers Great customer service will keep customers coming back, and word of mouth will bring in new shoppers. But don’t stop there. There are many other ways to attract new customers to your resale shop. They include:   Host events. Some shops allow customers to host evening events and gatherings at the store. The store owner can add sweeteners to the experience, such as offering refreshments or a fashion show as part of the event, Meyer says. Or, perhaps you could plan your own evening event – such as a short class on an area of interest pertinent to the merchandise category, Meyer says. Examples she suggest include lessons on: Scarf tying Packing for travel Furniture painting Every time you host an event, you open an opportunity for more future business. “Evening events bring in new customers, some who may have never been exposed to resale,” Meyer says.   Advertise your inventory online. Meyer says many of her organization’s member shops put a lot — or all — of their inventory for sale online. “This makes it easy for someone who sees an item they think a friend or relative may love to forward a link,” she says.   Offer items that appeal to the right demographic. The neighborhood in which your thrift store is located should drive the types of items you list for sale. Is your business in a place where families live or congregate? Offer kids toys and clothes. Do you live in an area with a lot of rental housing? Sell furniture that renters need when moving in. “This isn’t an industry like convenience stores, who basically all carry the same type of products,” Meyer says. “This industry is much more specialized, and therefore each shop has to determine its own target market.”     Make technology your friend. Too many resale shops fail to take advantage of modern methods of reaching shoppers, such as email, social media and ecommerce, Meyer says. She urges shop owners to keep up with current technology trends, and to be proactive and creative with social media and other modern methods of marketing. For example, collect your customers’ email addresses, and send them notices of upcoming sales, or even simply birthday greetings. Keep your thrift store inventory and your customer contact information organized with Talus Pay. To learn more about how Talus Pay’s POS can benefit your resale shop, get a free quote today.   […]

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Things To Consider When Choosing A Wine Bar Location

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3 minutes You’ve decided to open a wine bar? Cheers! A wine bar is a great service industry business. It’s fast-paced, fun and rewarding. But, running a successful wine bar takes a lot of planning. Choosing the right neighborhood to open your bar is a key element in its success. There are many factors to consider when choosing the right location. Your Concept Your concept is vital. If you haven’t defined it, your wine bar doesn’t have an identity. Are you opening an upscale, sophisticated bistro bar? Or, a laid-back neighborhood hangout where people can share a house bottle and laugh? The Living Room Wine Cafe & Lounge in Chandler, Arizona settled on the concept of relaxing in a living room. Instead of standard tables and chairs, its layout is filled with couches and loungers. This concept helps defines the customer’s experience, making it a unique-destination wine bar. The Experience Concept and experience go hand in hand. With so many wine bars out there, offering the right overall experience will separate your bar from the rest. A 2017 Wine Market Council study found that 70 percent of wine served in the U.S. is produced domestically. So, if everyone serves the same domestic wines, why should people give you their hard-earned money? “Experience is everything,” says Collin James, owner of The Wine Tailor and franchise owner of Waters Edge Wineries. “Make your place the place where people want to go.” Giving people a reason to visit helps make a location popular. Target Audience Who are your ideal customers? They can’t be “all wine lovers.” You need to be specific, and a good starting point is with demographics — gender, age, income, location, etc. If you need help, you can find free demographic data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Once your demographics are defined, take it one step further with psychographics — values, habits, behaviors, hobbies, etc. Psychographics can allow you to further understand the needs and wants of your ideal customers. Understanding your customers will help you identify a location your customers deem desirable. Target Audience Location After defining your target audience, find out where that audience is located. It’s a good rule of thumb to have your wine bar located close to where your customers are. The U.S. Census Bureau’s Quick Facts section of its website is a great tool to help you locate your target audience, as it allows you filter by city, state and ZIP code. This data can ensure your audience is close to whatever location you choose. If you have two potential locations and one of them has eight times the number of ideal customers living nearby, you can make an educated decision about where to open your doors. Competitors’ Locations When you’re deciding on locations, know if there’s competition around. If you have a similar wine bar concept, you might not want to pick a location right next to a competitor, unless you want to share customers. However, if your location is customer-rich and can support both businesses, having a competitor so close might not be an issue. There’s a reason why Home Depot and Lowe’s are usually close to one another. Traffic And Activity When you’re thinking of locations, it’s important to also take potential customer traffic into consideration. Having a location near a constant flow of people can really drive up sales. “I specifically picked our Long Beach location because of the foot traffic,” James says. “Twelve million people walk past our doors weekly.” His ideal customers are travelers and tourists, and he picked a location that sees a lot of activity. Location Layout If you’re leaning toward a potential wine bar location, make sure the space works for your business. It should be properly zoned with the city and have plenty of square footage to operate. Do you need parking? Is the building easily accessible? Are you in a location where employees want to work? These are all important things to consider when picking the right spot. Payment Processing Running a wine bar will be plenty of hard work, but your payment processing system shouldn’t be complicated. Talus Pay offers simple solutions at unbeatable prices. To learn how Talus Pay can help your business, contact us today! […]

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