Physical stores are now more crucial than ever for E-Commerce

As brands invest in e-commerce, many are finding it necessary to have a physical presence. Here's why a physical location is beneficial.

Technology is changing the way we are living our lives. Shopping online has become a trend that’s here to stay, but it isn’t without its drawbacks. E-commerce continues to be on the rise. In fact, between 2016 and 2021, e-commerce sales grew by 44%. But digital shopping can’t be all there is for e-commerce brands. As more brands invest in e-commerce, many are finding it necessary to have physical locations as well. Here are some reasons why e-commerce businesses need a physical location.

Why is it important for an e-commerce store to have physical locations?

Many brands have been able to reach a wider audience by starting their businesses online. But the success of an e-commerce business isn't just dependent on being online.

Having a physical location gives your customers a chance to physically interact with your product. Today, there are many things that you can do digitally, but for some people, they prefer to have a more tangible experience with your product.

Additionally, having a physical location is crucial for brick-and-mortar shops because it allows customers to pick up items or ask questions about them if they need any help. It also gives you the opportunity to display your products so they can be seen in person.

How does having a physical location help your business?

Having a physical location for your business can help you stand out, especially if you intend to expand your business into new markets. Physical stores in the prime area also boost your awareness, in 2020, the Dutch bike company VanMoof opened Pop Up stores in Copenhagen, Stockholm, and Oslo in order to expand into the Nordic markets.

VanMoof Pop Up store, Copenhagen, Denmark

A physical location for your business can also help out with customer service. People will know that they can come by and speak to someone if they need help or have questions. The online French florist Bergamotte has been opening Pop Up stores across the Nordics to extend their reach and offer their consumers advice of their best in-house plants.

Bergamotte Pop Up store, Stockholm, Sweden

Physical locations also offer more opportunities for interaction with customers. You can hold events or seasonal sales that only happen in-person that might not work on an e-commerce site (think discounted items, closeouts, etc).  In 2021, the leading Swedish snus innovator, Lyft, opened two Pop Up stores to promote their new launches and conducted an in-field customer survey.

LYFT Pop Up store, Stockholm, Sweden


The attractiveness of an e-commerce business is often associated with the appearance of its storefront. A physical location offers more space to show off products and host events in a way an online store simply cannot.

How to successfully combine online storefronts with brick-and-mortar stores?

So, how do you combine the two? There are many ways to do this. One way that seems to be working well for businesses is to have a Pop Up store in their city temporarily while they are still building their online business.

This allows you to build your customer base in your physical location while getting feedback on your products or services. You can also make money from the profits of your Pop Up shop without having to invest too much upfront. It's a great way to introduce yourself to customers and get them excited about what you have in store (and online).

As the hyper-growth e-commerce brand, Tanrevel has been selling it’s own self-tanning device direct-to-consumer (D2C). Tanrevel is offering a healthy, vegan, alternative to sunbathing in a time where skin disorders and diseases are on the rise. In 2021, Tanrevel has opened its first physical store in Stureplan, Stockholm to extend their consumer base. 

Tanrevel Pop Up store, Stockholm, Sweden

What are the drawbacks of not combining your digital storefronts with offline storefronts?

The drawbacks of not combining your digital storefronts with offline storefronts are many. One of the most obvious is that it limits your reach. Digital storefronts can only really reach customers in the area who have internet access, while physical storefronts allow you to reach people from all over.

Another potential drawback is that it limits your brand's visibility. In a digital world where brands are competing to get their message across, a physical location can help you stand out from the other companies in your industry.

Additionally, a physical store gives your customer more reasons to buy from you instead of a competitor. With a brick-and-mortar store, customers have the opportunity to try before they buy and see what you have to offer firsthand. They also have the opportunity to speak with an employee about your products or services while they're shopping in person rather than going through chat or email correspondence online.

Conclusion

There are many reasons why an e-commerce store needs to have a physical location. A physical store for your store can provide customers with more customer service, the ability to see the product up close, and the ability to have a tangible experience.

Having a physical store, such as a Pop Up, for your brand can provide customers with more customer service, the ability to see the product up close, and the ability to have a tangible experience.

To ensure your online storefronts and offline storefronts are successful, make sure you have a plan for both. You can find information on how to successfully combine your digital storefronts and offline storefronts here.

Click here to talk with our experts and to draft plans of combining your e-commerce brand with physical stores!