Not too long ago, Linda and I were discussing and one topic that came up was that of getting an actual store. Of course, the traditional business method has always been physical, meaning you interact face to face with the person selling the goods. I think online shopping is one of the most amazing advancements in technology, and here are some of my reasons:
+ I love that I can shop items from a whole other region/country by just putting in my card details
+ The access to a large range of products you may not find where you stay
+ The excitement (and sometimes crippling anxiety) of waiting for your much-anticipated package to arrive – Aliexpress shoppers can relate to this, especially we cheapskates that just love that free shipping option.
I find that It’s way easier for me to spend money online that I do in real life. Getting a debit card is one of the best and worst things ever, and I love it! So, I was inspired to write this post, thinking of our conversation the other day. Those of you who own businesses and are reading this, do you prefer to be online or owning a physical shop? For those who don’t own businesses, which do you prefer? Let’s also say you’re considering starting a business e.g. a boutique, what would you go for?
I think that the option depends on the business. I mean you can’t really run an online makeup artistry, can you? Yeah, you can show all the beat faces (with heavy edits and perfect lighting) but the customer actually needs to come to you for the face beat.
When I came back to Nigeria, I discovered the beauty of online shopping – people are opening stores and using Instagram as their platforms! I think that is one of the coolest things ever. I’ve highlighted some pros and cons both on the sides of the business owner, and the shopper (as I am kind of in both camps) below.
P.S I didn’t do some mind-blowing, in-depth research and analysis of business trends or whatever. I’m just talking from my perspective. Don’t come for me.
Pros: Setting up an Online (INSTAGRAM) Shop
+ You don’t have to pay rent to be on Instagram (for now, anyway). Even switching to a business profile is free
+ You don’t even have to pay for a website of your own. Just slap contact details in the bio (most use Whatsapp or DMs as the channel for orders) and bam! All good to go.
+ All you do is worry about your branding (logo, theme, color scheme, photo quality), the set-up of your feed, communication with customers.
+ Basically, not as many overhead costs.
Cons: Shopping from an Online Store
+ You order based on the photos, sometimes you never know what you might end up with. Some stores do their best by showing you not just photos, but videos of the item in action, but still, not every experience can be pleasant. I don’t know what’s worse – getting an absolute disappointment (even if you’ll get a refund) or getting an absolute disappointment when you really needed the item! (Screams in frustration). Perhaps you had an all-important event to go to, and the dress comes the day before or hours before.
+ You can’t try on the clothes. This really sucks especially if there are discrepancies in the sizing, and maybe you don’t even know your exact size.
+ Nothing beats reality? Let’s face it though, no matter how descriptive the product description is, nothing beats holding up the item and really taking a look at it.
PROS: Brick & Mortar Store
+ Control: Though I list more cons than pros, I’d actually love to have a brick and mortar (physical) store! The fact that you have this little space to decorate and display ze’ goods is awesome. I’d make my store very Instagram friendly so I could attract hordes of bloggers, posers and social media enthusiasts.
+ Shopper: You can try on clothes, see what works, discard what doesn’t. You can have a good time! Plus, you don’t have to wait weeks for the package to come, it’s instant!
CONS: Brick & Mortar STORE
For the business owner
– Bills: *starts singing* I’ve got bills… I’ve gotta pay.. Yeah, I’m not too excited over the idea of paying not just rent, but utility costs – electricity, water, and in the case of Nigeria, whatever your environment/village people decide to throw at you. Plus, you have to pay to achieve that aesthetic & appeal to customers. The better the location, the more coins you need to fork over. ew.
– Location: I actually kind of find it limiting in a way. Unless you have the coin to expand and establish more stores, I don’t like the idea of being in one place. I mean, then again, this depends on the location. If you want to have a physical store, you actually need to get on social media platforms – Instagram especially. That way, you can still reach people who aren’t necessarily in your area. Sometimes I drive past a shopping centre and see a random shop with a sign board, surrounded by many other shops with signboards. I wonder how these people get found, and I don’t want to feel .. confined.
For the Shopper
– You Can’t Shop Naked: Basically, when you are out in public you have to at least attempt to look decent. You don’t want to risk being carted away on suspicion of being a mad person. Jokes! But seriously, going to a physical shop can sometimes be stressful. I hate the little anxiety that comes with security checks – I’m no thief, people! The idea of lounging in your hole-filled underwear, a
sachet glass of pure sparkling water in hand while perfectly manicured (or normal, normal is okay) nails slide across your keyboard/phone screen as you throw items into a cart, is pretty awesome too.
Those are just a few of the pros and cons I was able to come up with. I really liked thinking and writing on this topic, and I’d love for us to have a bomb conversation below!
What do you think? Online shopping or physical shopping?Talk from your perspective as a shopper or business owner. If you have no business, make one up! Lol!