Turning a hobby into a business is always exciting! You may not have intended for your new hobby to go this way but as you showcased more of your completed projects and people started to throw money your way for one of their own, it seemed like the next smart step. Alternatively, you may have been doing something for years and finally realized you could use it to your benefit and get a bit of extra cash. Whatever spurred the early beginnings of your new craft business, the next step is deciding whether you want to be online or rent your own business location and this article is here to advise the pros and cons between both.
Online sales grew increasingly throughout the last two decades. And, while brick and mortar stores still run away with the market share of all retail transactions, total online sales have risen from 5% just prior to the 2000’s to approximately 12% in 2019 and will continue to rise. While this might encourage new business owners to concentrate on solely online selling, there are further benefits that can be encouraged with a brick and mortar location.
The Benefits of a Brick & Mortar Store
There are many people that still prefer to enjoy a tactile shopping experience, able to see, touch and interact with the item they are potentially purchasing. This is especially the case for materials and groceries, where checking the quality and freshness is key. In addition, shoppers use brick and mortar stores for;
– Customer Service, able to discuss their wants or needs with an expert
– Avoiding delivery charges
– Better return policy, no need to ship off the product and wait
– Immediately have goods in hand without having to wait for delivery
As shoppers want more from their shopping trips, stores can do more to offer an experience including offering tea and coffee for shoppers, inviting shoppers to exclusive new releases and providing interactive sessions. For a craft store, they could attract further customers in by providing crafting sessions, opportunities to try out crafting tools and employing experienced crafters who can provide real-life advice for products and equipment.
You don’t have to outright purchase a location when starting a business and in fact, isn’t recommended in the beginning. Leasing or renting a property short or long-term can help you better manage your money without the responsibility of managing a property. Find your available units with a simple location search near to where you want to be, for instance, units or shops to rent Peterborough or shops and warehouses to rent Cambridge. Remember to find a location with a good amount of foot traffic to increase your potential customer base.
The Benefits of an Online Store
Online shopping is more popular with the younger generations but doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the only platform they use. 67% of millennials and 56% of gen-xers stated they preferred to shop online, meaning a third of millennials and almost half of gen-xers still prefer to be in a physical store. However, an online store can be the best option for a start-up because;
– There are much fewer overheads
– Shopping is available around the clock, 7 days a week
– It’s easier to cross reference different stores, deals and offers
– It’s convenient, no crowds, no tils, no waiting around
– There is a greater chance of finding what you need quickly
– It means customers don’t need to leave their home
As the likes of Amazon continue to offer free shipping or next-day delivery, the amount of people that choose to shop online will only increase and the greatest difficulty will be ensuring your store can get noticed online.
While offering interactive experiences is more difficult online, with platforms such as YouTube and Twitch, business owners can create content around teaching customers about potential equipment and tools or providing instructional videos on trying new crafts. Not only does this offer value to your potential customer and help to make a connection between the store and online visitors, these videos or articles can help improve online visibility.
Starting a business is great and more small businesses should be encouraged however, it’s important to take your time and fully understand every aspect of running a business before launching. Make sure you recognize the pros or cons of any decision and where necessary, talk to someone who has already launched their own business about their experiences and any challenges faced.