Not so long ago the high street was proclaimed dead by many. Everything was moving online, from clothes shops to banks, with it often becoming easier to contact services via email or their websites than in person.
Recently though a number of online only retailers have started to move into the real, offline world. From opening up their first physical shops to jumping on the pop-up bandwagon, there is a big appeal to both owners and customers for an offline outlet. Having an offline presence is advantageous to many other businesses, both new and established, for a number of reasons.
For retail companies, depending on what their line of business is,the main benefit of having a physical shop is that customers can actually get their hands on the products. Especially seeing expensive items up close is more likely to tempt people to part with their cash than just a picture, however informative the listing on the website.
An offline presence presents an air of legitimacy and helps companies compete against many foreign businesses. Even if it’s just using a virtual office to give yourself a business address, having an actual, professional place to meet makes it far easier and more likely for investors and clients to believe in and be interested in your business.
With the huge number of businesses now setting up as online only, either as a start-up out of someone’s bedroom or an individual pursuit, having a physical headquarters is another way to stand out. There is significantly less competition on the high street for retailers.
In some ways the online market is becoming overcrowded, with many similar outlets offering the same items for equally competitive prices; setting up a physical shop can be seen as different, breaking out of the established mould to tap into a new audience. Having an actual office address for other types of business provides the sense of an established company which has developed and is stable enough to afford one. This also puts it above those using homes as their main business address.
Selling your product or service is done much more easily in person. Having an offline presence, either an office or shop, allows you to bring clients and customers in and speak to them on a personal level.
This also increases a sense of brand loyalty and is much more likely to develop into a long-lasting working relationship than being organised via email, for example. Retaining an online presence is still important to access a wider market, but having a grounding in the real world will arguably benefit every type of business.