Comparison of Physical Stores and Online Sales

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Online sales seems to change traditional physical shopping.

Online shopping seem to change the rooted traditional physical shopping habit since 2000s which is the year of expansion on online shopping. Online shopping that becomes widespread on e-commerce websites, cross-border e-commerce websites, mobile apps and different channels is frequently compared with traditional shopping.

Although online shopping seems to be leading these 2 different shopping types with few similarities and a lots of differences, there are common views that traditional shopping will never end. These two distinct concepts are shaping the seller behaviour and tendency without any doubt.

You can read this content to learn about similarities and differences between physical sales and online sales, buyer and seller profiles and preferred buying and selling methods.

Similarities Between Physical Sales and Online Sales for Buyers

For buyers, these two concepts have few similarities. The main reason is that for buyers, physical and online shopping processes are complete opposites. But there are few similarities.

  • For both buyer groups, price is the priority. Whether a person shops from the stores around him/her or on e-commerce websites, that person first compares the prices with other alternative.
  • Just like price, instalment option is another similarity for both customer groups. Regardless of physical or online shopping, buyers want to know which credit cards offer instalment, how many instalments are possible etc.
  • Especially discount campaigns are the most attractive reason to shop regardless of consumer group. Buyers who see significant discount in online or physical store might purchase the product even if they don’t need it.
  • Views about the seller website or physical store are important for both consumer groups. Potential customers research from their surrounding or online when they will buy products with traditional shopping or e-commerce.

Differences Between Physical Sales and Online Sales for Buyers

Physical and online sales which are completely different experience have various differences. From purchase platform rt payment, from product options to delivery, almost all steps have differences.

  • Customer group that prefers physical sales wants to see the product while online shoppers want to see whether the product has advantages for property or price.
  • Those who can’t give up on traditional shopping think whether e-commerce is safe. Online shoppers choose e-commerce websites based on their experience and internet research.
  • Those who shop from traditional stores believe purchasing requires trust and shopping is a part of socializing and social life. For online shoppers, not going anywhere or spending time for shopping is a huge advantage.
  • Offline consumers believe that there must be sales representatives to help them during shopping while online consumers believe that sales representatives can be disturbing since they interrupt their experience.
  • Those who choose traditional shopping consider the advices of their surrounding and sales representatives and online shoppers follow online product reviews and comments.
  • Offline consumers generally tell their recommendations and complains about the products to people around them while online consumers use social media for these.
  • Those who shop from traditional stores want to have the product at that moment rather than quality and advantages while online shoppers are willing to wait for shipment for quality and advantages.

Similarities Between Physical Sales and Online Sales for Sellers

Just like buyers, it is hard to say these two sales have similarities for sellers. The common things for sales from real stores and online sales with e-commerce stores are documentation and price policy.

  • While it is mandatory to document the products in both methods, there are no differences in terms of invoicing type or content. If products are sold in foreign marketplaces with cross-border e-commerce, it is possible to invoice some products without VAT.
  • Affordable price policy of the seller is an advantage for both sales channel. Potential customers mainly focus on the price rather than the sales channel for affordable products.
  • Regardless of discount and campaigns in online store or physical store, sellers always encourage customers to shop by attracting attention. Therefore, it is possible to see special campaigns and discounts like “Black Friday” in both physical stores and online stores.

Differences Between Physical Sales and Online Sales for Sellers

When the same product is sold on physical and online store, this means different processes to present these products to consumers. Therefore, these 2 different commerce type often has different stages.

  • In physical sales, sellers always need a point of sales and an area to show the products. But for online sales, the seller can be an individual, institution or the manufacturer or sell without a physical point of sales. This means lower product prices with lower costs for online seller.
  • While offline point of sales can only sell during specific times and days, online sales can be open for 24/7. This means more sales and profit for online seller.
  • Although traditional sellers have large and high number of stores, they are limited with the store location. On the other hand, online stores and especially cross-border e-commerce stores can sell around the world without location limits. This means online sellers have more potential customers than traditional sellers.
  • Since offline sellers have limited number of leads due to limited surrounding, the impact area of the ads are limited. But online store owners can give ads in all online media such as Google, Facebook, Instagram and websites with high clicks to reach wider audience.
  • Opening a physical store can have high cost due to store rent, expenses, staff costs and other expenses. But opening an online store and selling in that store has lower costs. Since low costs reflect to product prices, online sellers have higher chance to seller lower priced products than traditional sellers.

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