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Why Online Stores Make More Money
Sean: Next question. What are the first steps to turn my online business into a physical one? I don’t have one yet.
Erika: Don’t do it!
Sean: Why do you say that?
Erika: Search me on YouTube, Erika Rodica, and I post videos there about my business and my behind the scenes industry. So just recently, I closed my physical store because it’s the pandemic and people were not buying. I mean, I’m telling you to not do it during this time. But it still depends on your business. I don’t know what your business is.
But like for me, if you can go online, because people are more comfortable buying online now, the pandemic really pushed them. Before, for them Grab and Lalamove were expensive, people were really more comfortable buying online. And I think it’s good because it lowers your costs and it lowers your overheads.
For me, if you can sustain doing it online, at least during this time, do it because you can grow a lot. You don’t have to be physical for you to earn a lot of money. I don’t know what a lot of money is for you, but you know, you can really grow it and you can even have a team that is working from home. But of course if you’re selling a physical product, you have to have a fulfillment team so that has to be at the office.
But then again, it’s better and less overhead. So take it from me. I tried to make it work, but it’s also maybe because of my product, because it’s a swimsuit and nobody’s going anywhere right now. So yeah, I had to close the store. I was not earning. Actually, I reopened it this January. I’m so hard headed. I thought I could make it work.
January, February, March, and April, it’s all losses. Those were bad months but online, we’re still doing well. Even though I sell swimsuits, it’s still doing well online. So I’m just saying, if you can do it online right now, just be there.
Sean: Yeah, I 100% agree. You might think, though, that I’m biased as I’m an SEO services company, but I do have my aquascape.ph business, and that has always been online. I mean, we didn’t make plans for us to have a shop that you can visit, and there’s the aquariums there.
Sean: Although if you visit the house where we house all of our aquariums and the plants that we grow, the aquatic plants and livestock that we grow, it looks pretty nice. It’s just that we don’t like people going there because it’s the pandemic and my brother lives there.
And everything that we have in the physical store, it’s in the online store, it’s in the e-commerce website. And we ship out, you just have to pay online. Everything’s there. So we actually save a lot of money from rent, which is a big deal. Renovations, which is a big capital expense. And manpower to man the shop.
We don’t have manpower manning the shop. My brother lives where my aquariums are. My driver lives there as well. So they’re the ones actually taking care of my stuff there, and they’re the ones fulfilling the orders. The orders just come from the website and so they fulfill it. So we have no plans of turning that into a physical one.
I think the only good reason when you would turn your online business to a physical one is if your branding is so powerful that you need a physical proof of who you are online. But that also might be counterintuitive. So I don’t think there is a need for any business to do that, especially now during the pandemic. Maybe when things get back to normal, this will make a lot more sense. But right now, it’s not advisable.
Erika: If you really want something physical, just have a little showroom by appointment to keep you safe as well. You don’t want to interact with a lot of people nowadays.
Sean: Do you still have your showroom or not, Erika?
Sean: Yeah, it’s tough, right? But good to hear that you’re still doing well online. Online is the way to go.
What was the biggest difference when it came to marketing your online store versus your physical store? There you go. Erika, I think that’s for you. I don’t have a physical store.
Erika: Marketing online is easier. It’s easier because people are all online and you just have to worry about your social media accounts and your Facebook ad spending as compared to having a physical store. We did as much as giving out flyers. Can you believe that? We gave out flyers in the village and I don’t even know if that worked as much. There was really no way to track unless you ask people, “Oh, how did you learn about us and stuff?”
Although I also did market my physical store through online channels, I also did Facebook advertising to lead people there within the vicinity. Yeah, I think that’s the biggest difference when it comes to marketing. It’s just really easier online, and it’s more accessible. If you want to market for free, there are a lot of ways to do it.
Sean: Yeah. A hundred percent agree. I think marketing today, marketing is the same whether you stay traditional or digital. Marketing is marketing. It’s all about getting into the face of your customer or potential customer. And right now, where are your customers? Most of them, if not all of them, are for sure on their smartphones. And when they’re on their smartphones, they’re digitally connected. That’s why digital marketing right now is so powerful.
And imagine a lot of physical stores, even restaurants are being marketed digitally right now. There’s no shame in flyering, by the way. If it works, that’s perfect and fantastic. No one should dictate how you should market so long as you are getting into the face of your potential customer that is a respectable marketing channel.
A huge difference is it’s a lot cheaper marketing online. It takes a lot less people compared to when you’re marketing traditionally like billboards, magazines, newspapers, TVs, radios. It’s a lot cheaper. It takes a lot less effort to market online and you get to test it better because now you could run two different ads and see which one performs better.
But you can’t do two different TV shows because that’s going to be super-duper expensive for you. So it’s a boon and it’s a gift when it comes to being able to market online. It’s a gift for SMBEs out there and business owners who are starting out.