Store Front Businesses struggling to compete with Web Based Businesses-The How & Why?


Asides from the obvious dilemma that store front businesses face in competing with web based businesses such as the high cost of maintaining a physical property lease, large number of employees and the challenges of on hand inventory issues to include shrink; what other challenges are thwarting the brick & mortar retailer in staying competitive with his virtual counterpart?

Website Development
Brick and Mortar
virtual business
Employee Management
Business Strategy
55 months ago

12 answers


I think that the technology is entering our houses and private life so fast and so deeply that offline shops have to adapt to new realities. I specialize in e-Commerce consulting. Most of my clients are offline and want to be online.
Currently even B2B companies buy e-Commerce solutions for their business. The answer is simple - more people search web for product information than ask for catalogs or visit stores - nearly 90% of searches, even for business.
It means that FMOT is online now. Simply offline brick-and-mortar shops have to invest in online solutions, otherwise they will disappear, like some shops on my street in NY. The omnichannel communication is crucial to succeed and survive. The technology changed everything, especially the cost of entering some industries. Some e-Commerce giants have fully robotized huge warehouses with a few people employed as operators, to cut costs and time of delivery.
Smaller shops introduced a special service, loyalty programs with marketing automation.
I think that offline shops will survive but they have to have a different better offer, uniqueness and great design of products, good return policies, great service, as well as in some cases an online shop for booking or pickup at shop.
People are counting money more than ever. Everything is more expensive, especially houses and rent. It means they don't have money for shopping. Wages grew only 5% in average since 2002.
These factors simply boost cheaper solutions, like online shopping, drop-shipping or lending, like Airbn, Uber or Lyft.
Simply I don't use a regular taxi anymore. This is a reality.

Urszula Urban
55 months ago
Very good insight. 'Uber' summed it up. You're people want the convenience, practicality and cost saving of an alternate' solution. Uber is probably the classic example of why the offline retailer are simply vanishing- I recall taking a yellow cab across my hometown going 10 miles and paying $25 dollars and now I can go across town paying $5 dollars with Uber. - ANTHONY MICHAEL 55 months ago
All we have to do is close the door. - Dr. David E. 43 months ago

I think this is a pretty large question - Online vs Offline retail. 
And big stores like Walmart have both. While giants like Amazon are primarily in online. Growing online retail has various success factors behind them - 
1. Easy shopping for customer and seller both. No queues, no discussions with salesperson etc.
2. Easy and quick payment (Online payments are pretty mature now and things like pay for delivery are game changer)
3. For shopper - home delivery is a huge advantage. 
4. For store owner - operations cost is an advantage ( Though we can argue operation cost in offline vs online, for small online stores it's cheap). You do not have to pay rent for a store in a busy street, that can cost you fortunes. 
Of course, there are few pitfalls of online stores as well. But, the way this industry is growing- the pitfalls are next to nothing ( or will become so).

Hitesh Mathpal
55 months ago
I agree its a huge question but when you really look at it, it took offline retailer years to implement platforms such as review, posting, sharing among social pages, ect Yes it true that Walmart finally got both but did lose its lead as the number world retailer now next to Amazon. And Amazon is completing the circle by the installment store fronts that support the Dist. Ctrs. - ANTHONY MICHAEL 55 months ago
The race is a marathon; not a spirnt - Dr. David E. 43 months ago
WM is actually profitable; Amazon not so much! - Dr. David E. 43 months ago

I have completely different opinion on this topic based on my reading of study reports published on this topic
The major disadvantages of online stores are w.r.t.

  • Customer needs to pay shipping and handling charges
  • Have different exchange/refund policy for returns
  • Fails to provide social or family buying experiences
  • Unable to provide feeling about the helpfulness of salespeople,
  • Providing adequate post-purchase service
  • Have lots of uncertainty about getting the right item in right time

The only advantages of online shopping are w.r.t.

  • Easy brand-selection from thousands of collections
  •  Availability of large numbers of variants
  •  Ease of browsing experience without any hindrance/shyness

The disadvantages of online shopping are so many that small advantages could not completely mitigate the disadvantages of online shopping. Practically speaking, online shopping had a complementary relationship with in-store shopping frequency and online shopping increase in-store shopping occasion. Major portions of store buyer used online shopping for information search and major portion of online buyers made trips to store for acquiring direct information and experience.
Therefore, online shopping in combination with in-store shopping (hybrid shopping) enables consumers to acquire product information and experience product, and easy transactions.

One possible solution to tackle the challenge is

  • Provide the consumers online shopping experience in the store it-self
Samares B
55 months ago
No denying that the Online Retailer has many pitfalls especially among smaller start-up and home based online business but it is fairly established knowledge that online retailers led the way to a whole new technological business model causing offline retailer to follow suit which we now see in the homogenizing of Online & Offline to our present concept of store front-web backed. - ANTHONY MICHAEL 55 months ago
Thank you - Dr. David E. 43 months ago

Difficult to say, both online and offline stores have advantages and disadvantages. They are now trying to adapt to challenges and take opportunities.
For examples online stores do not have to pay for a super expensive brick and mortar in the city center. On the other side the online competition is crazy, it is really tough to be visible to consumers in particular if you have big competitors such as Amazon.
Online shopping enables to easily check all the products for sale but for example you can't try anything before buying.
Online payments are easy but now you can pay with cards or mobile in brick and mortar stores as well.
To me a good solution is the combination of online and offline experiences to take the advantages of both channels and providing consumers with a great customized experience.

Paolo Beffagnotti
55 months ago
So true-and thats exactly whats happening...A solid store front business with all the logistics of a successful web based support system - ANTHONY MICHAEL 55 months ago
Cross and multi channels approaches are the next steps, if successful you could have a global visibility and access to consumers located in any market all over the world. Indeed time and efforts are required, this is not something that could be set up in a very short time. - Paolo 55 months ago
Can you say CHINA? - Dr. David E. 43 months ago

One of the leading differences between the online retailers and the trailing, struggling store front retailers is the basic philosophy of their prospective business models...lets look into in detail:
1 Web based, online retailers are appealing to a bigger, broader or select audience than the store front retailers.
A single online retailer can literally service an entire country in theory whereas the store front retailer has to contend with customer traffic within a few miles of his location. Just running the numbers alone in potential customers on this factor alone, puts the online retailer on top as far as sales potential.

1 Web based, online retailers are appealing to a bigger, broader or select audience than the store front retailers.
The online business can literally have a global presence while the store front is at the mercy of its 1 to 10 mile traffic zone.

2 Online retailers are more successful in targeting the demographics of their customer base.
Through its social pages such as facebook, twitter, instagram, ect, the online retailer is zeroing on its target audience.

3 An online business has the luxury to be located anywhere therefore taking advantage of lease/rent/property cost savings.
Goes without saying-no huge parking for customers or employees, no key real estate location, no huge overhead.

4 Online retailer avoid the unnecessary costs, liability and time spent on live customer service that store retailers incur.
By not having the live customer element onsite, things from accident slips & falls are avoided, customer theft, long lines, ect.

5 Online retailers are forward thinking pushing the bar on technological advances putting business literally in your fingertips.
Its the virtual world on the cutting edge, setting the trend on how to modernize business as store front business are copying.

6 Most importantly Online retailers are creating a whole new era of business philosophy and a mindset that is capturing not only the wallets of its customers but the very minds, hearts and souls...
... by sharing ideas, thoughts and feedback, by linking together and providing links to supporting business partners, by creating apps and modules that makes the shopping experience done easily from your smart phone, by providing shopping 24 hours a day-7 days a week, by being perceived as eco-friendly, green & sustainable, by challenging traditional, age-old practices of store front business and putting the customer/end user in control of the shopping experience with platforms such as review, 'likes', favoriting, following, mobile apps, text notifications and so on and ect. And leading the way with a whole new outlook on logistics, employee quality of life and the customer experience by rewarding their work staff, by having the product brought to your door step by allowing you to comment, post and share your experience directly with the online retailer. In large the online retailer has brought you-the customer-into the foreground of its business model.

Its has taken years for the brick and mortar retailers to finally see what the web based online retailers were doing was successful and only recently has the store front retailers starting implementing many of the tech tools and business model philosophies that are driving the success of the online communities. Just think about the very recent Amazon indoor city Rain Forest-incredible and compare that to nothing being done by its store front counterpart Walmart.

55 months ago
YEP - WM does nothing but employ folks in poor neighborhoods where there is no RF- - Dr. David E. 43 months ago

The future of 'brick' is in experience. 'Click' will be comparison and price oriented. And larger retailers will have to bridge the experience between brick and click.

For instance: only show limited amounts of sizes per item, but provide virtual fitting rooms and advice + 'click' type sending the items to your home, including good return conditions if you still don't like it.

Bart Groenewoud
54 months ago
YEP - JIT rocks - Dr. David E. 43 months ago

What will be the advantage of a unique design for me for a retail website ?

A unique design can certainly get the attention of website visitors, but it is very difficult to produce such designs. Thank you for what you cannot have as a unique design. Is it just about the graphics, theme for the layout which can give it a distinctive look? Either way, you must do your homework before moving on with your project. Website design can take several months to complete, and for a retail business, many features need to be incorporated. 
To make your website work, consult a website design company Dubai having all the experience so that he can offer you a great remedy for the problem you are facing.

Muneeb Qadar
14 months ago

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55 months ago
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Frequently Asked Questions About Your
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The Basics

  • What is the ICANetwork Smartphone App Service?
  • It's a cutting-edge, cloud-based app-creation service that enables your business to own, manage, and distribute your own Smart Phone App and Mobile-enabled Website which are primarily designed to inform and engage your customers - wherever they are - at home, at work, or on-the-go.
  • What is a Smartphone App?
  • Have you ever seen the TV commercial that says... "There's an App for that!"? The word APP refers to specialty or business applications that are available to iPhone users, Smartphones, and other handheld mobile devices such as the iPod-Touch. In our case, we offer a multi-page, full-featured App structured primarily for use as a marketing tool. Our app is both downloadable from the iTunes App Store and Google Play store AND accessible as a standalone mini Mobile web site.
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  • Apps cost upwards of $10,000. How can you charge so much less?
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  • There are several advantages, but the single most important one is "PERSISTENT PRESENCE".
  • With your own app / mobile website, your app resides on your customers' phones. You can say that, in a polite and productive way, you are "constantly in their face". They are always reminded of you and your information is consistently and instantly available to them - anywhere, anytime - 24/7. No other advertising tool can offer the same ability to inform and engage customers. That is the power of having your own app.
  • How often can I change the contents of my App?
  • Anytime you want, as often as you want. In fact, your app has a page called the "Alert Page" which is practically the first page of your app. This is where you post any updates, special messages, new promotional offers, etc. We even encourage you to post a new alert everyday, so you can engage customers to make it a habit to open your app and check your alerts on a regular basis.
  • Can I use my own custom images in my App?
  • Yes! This is highly recommended in fact. For additional information about the specific pages that make up your app and mobile website, please refer to the PAGE CHART which defines the purpose, features, and functionalities of each individual page, as well as the specifications of images that go with each page.

App & Mobile Website

  • How will my users download or access my App?
  • Your app will be available in both the Apple App Store as well as the Google Play Store. You can direct your users there through a web address, or by using a QR code (which we provide you). Once your user downloads it, they will be prompted to enter your Shotcode (which you select when creating your app). The Shortcode tells the app to load the content of your app for your user.
  • Alternately, you may send your users to a web version of your App without requiring them to download it from one of the App stores. We provide you a permanent web address as well as a QR code for this purpose. All your users will still be prompted to register with your app and those who do will be entered into your text messaging system. (However note that Push Notifications are only supported through the downloadable version of your app.)
  • How do I capture information about users of my app?

  • When a user first downloads your app and enters your Shortcode (or visits the web version of your app), they are automatically prompted to register with your app on a breif form. The form captures the name, phone number, and email address of the user. All data captured through this form is available to you through your Advertiser Back Office.
  • When I installed my app, I noticed that there were some "permissions" that I had to approve. What did that mean?
  • A. As with any app, especially communication apps, our app must interact with your smartphone. There are certain things that the app has to do internally, and that is what it need permission to do.
  • Here is a list of permissions that the app MIGHT ask for, and what they mean:
  • Modify, delete and read storage: Gives the app permission to access the storage on your device in order to save and edit files. Most apps will require some kind of access, if only to keep temporary logs on your device.
  • Find and use accounts on the device: Google, Facebook, Twitter. These accounts are often integral to the way we use our phones, letting us tweet from anywhere or access Gmail from multiple apps. This permission gives an app the ability to tap into these accounts without jumping through hoops to make life more convenient for you.
  • Full network access: Just like the software on your laptop, most apps require some kind of Internet access, whether it's for software updates, syncing or retrieving data from online resources.
  • Phone status and identity: Don't panic: this doesn't mean it can listen in on your phone calls. This permission enables apps to recognize when a call comes in and give you the opportunity to answer it, pausing the current app in the background in the meantime.
  • Prevent phone from sleeping: When your phone or tablet goes into sleep mode, it can interrupt certain processes, such as data being written to the internal storage. This permission enables an app to keep your device 'awake' while important system tasks are being carried out; it can also be used by video players, for example, to keep the screen on.
  • Read and send text messages: Plenty of apps want to replace your phone's SMS functionality, and this permission can also be used to automatically scan your incoming texts for authorization codes (used where two-step authentication is involved).
  • Read your contacts: The ability to share content with your friends in some way is often the underlying purpose, though the permission might also be requested so that the app can quickly auto-complete the names of your contacts whenever required.

Hi from Don Leopard, see this new unparalleled marketing tool
55 months ago
Hi from Don Leopard, see this new unparalleled marketing tool
55 months ago

We are not here to alarm you or frighten you but you need to know...

It is predicted (you can verify this yourself online) that by the end of this year more than 50% of ALL internet traffic will originate from a mobile device!

If your website is not 'mobile-friendly' your traffic will LEAVE!


The Internet Is Fragmenting!

It's not falling apart, it's getting bigger by the day, but the fragmentation is all about how people access it.
Let's turn the clock back to 1997... A website was just becoming popular. Most businesses didn't even have one back in those days. But those that saw and recognized the coming revolution not only outsmarted, they clobbered their competition by being the first in their space to aggressively embrace the internet. By having a website, by selling their product or services via their internet, and by collecting the names and email addresses of their prospective customers, it was heyday heaven for those early pioneers.
Back in those days the only way to 'see' a website was to type in or click on a url (website address).
But ohhh, times are changing again!
Today you can access the internet from a pc, from a laptop, from a smart phone, from a tablet, and so on, you get the idea?.. Fragmentation!
And just like the technological climate of 15 years or so ago, things are changing again - only this time even faster.
It's this avalanche of changes that have been cascading down upon us that have led us to totally reinvent our business, our products and our services.
In fact, it is indeed exactly why we began selling custom phone apps for any business through our site, and we quickly became a leader there.
It's also why we began offering guaranteed first page search results for local businesses through our SEO service site,

It's all about the mobile marketplace

It's all about what's happening with the fragmentation of the internet and how people access it from their mobile devices. If you have a smart phone you know what I'm about to say is precisely accurate.. Most of the websites you type in or try to access are nearly impossible to read, see, or navigate on that small screen.
The simple fact of the matter is, the resolution of the graphics is designed for much larger screens and therefore load to slowly on a mobile device, if they indeed load at all. And, those sites designed for desktop viewing almost always have far too many words per line. It's okay for a desktop site to have 12, 13, 14 or even more words per line, but try and read that line on a 3-inch screen.. Next to impossible!
I could go on but I'm sure you get the idea. A website that is designed to be easily seen and navigated on a 14-inch or larger monitor is just not view able in any kind of friendly format on a three or four inch screen.

You must get mobile ready

It's imperative that you are mobile ready for what's happening. Just like 15 years ago, those early adapters crushed their competition, built their businesses ahead of the curve. The same thing is taking place exactly right now. Think it's safe to wait a year? It probably isn't. Here's why...
It's currently estimated that there are over 1,300,000 androids, not counting iPhones, being activated - every day - worldwide. And, it is estimated that by the end of this year over 50% of all internet traffic will originate from these smart mobile devices.
If your website is not formatted, if it is not mobile friendly, if it is not easy to navigate on that tiny 3-inch screen, your visitors will leave as fast as they got there.

Heed this warning please

I told you earlier, how we have been reinventing our business to be positioned for the new internet, the new Web 3.0. And I'm the first to admit there is always a learning curve involved in anything new, and I'm sure you've heard this before.. If you're not keeping up you are - therefore, logically, falling behind... Fortunately the learning curve for the new Web 3.0 is not that challenging.

We have simplified the process

We now own some very special software that we use to reformat and make just about any website mobile friendly. You know, so it can be seen on that tiny screen. Up until now if a website owner wanted to have a website that was 'mobile friendly' they had to just about strip out everything at their site and just go with some basic items, virtually making their mobile version a shadow, or more adeptly said an apparition of their primary desktop version.. Not so, not true, not with us.
Our unique software aided by a human eye can now very efficiently take a website and render it viewable on the small screen without changing the richness and fullness and objective of the desktop version.
For example, instead of showing graphics at say their original 680 dpi (dots per inch) our software reduces that down by about 90%. Still very rich, very viewable on that small screen.
Here's another example.. When we work on a website to render it 100% mobile friendly if there are more than a dozen words or so per line we merely shorten those lines. We do not remove the words, we just make the paragraph deeper.. You see the difference?
Go to our website to see the difference we can make..

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55 months ago

Find new friends and followers... and KEEP them!

Stop spending hours every week scouring the internet for new and interesting content for your Facebook page! Let us do it for you! (We'll even set up your FaceBook page for you if you don't have one already!)

You want to run your business, not your Facebook page!


Social presence is crucial!

You already know this... in today's connected world, you simply MUST have a way to regularly engage your prospects, customers, followers and friends. And posting new, exciting, and most importantly - RELEVANT content to your Facebook page is how to do it!
But who has the time to spend hours scouring the net for the latest most exciting content?
Heck, most folks running a business don't even have time to update their profiles regularly, much less manage their business Fan Page. And hiring an in-house social manager would amount to literally tens of thousands of dollars per year!

That's where ICAN GoSocial™ comes in!

Simply put, we do it for you!
It's the fastest, easiest way to get hot new content posted to your Facebook, not just on a monthly, or weekly basis, but even DAILY! In fact, we can fine tune your social management service to even post at certain times of the day, all on auto-pilot!
Best of all, your posted content will be fresh, engaging, relevant, and "buzz-worthy" -- which means your friends and followers will be much more likely to reshare it with their friends and followers! Imagine your prospects and customers doing your marketing and advertising for you!

Here's how it works:

You tell us what topics your followers would find interesting. Then, you let us know what time of day you'd like your viral content posted.
Then, our proprietary and sophisticated platform scours the internet to find hundreds of relevant and popular content based on the topics you provide. From this, our team hand-selects a large list of videos, articles, Pinterest posts, and more.
Our proprietary algorithm ensures that only the most engaging, most popular, and most potentially-viral content is chosen.
We then select the absolute best content to share with your customers, followers, and friends and add it to the "posting queue"... This queue then is drip-fed to your Facebook page every day to keep your followers entertained, and most importantly - engaged with your brand!

Hot Daily Content!

Our platform will drip-feed hand selected content daily to your followers!

Auto-Posting Platform!

Your hand-picked content is automatically posted every single day!

Custom Targeted Content!

You give us your topics and we scour the net for highly targeted content that will keep your followers entertained!

Complete White Glove Service!

After an initial phone interview, we take care of it all... you never have to worry about it again! (But feel free to let us know if you want to change something anytime!)

Timed Posting!

Simply let us know if there is a particular time of day you want your posts to appear!

Viral Content Algorithm!

Our platform's algorithm ensures only the most popular and virally-potent content is selected!

No FaceBook™ page? No Problem!

If you have an existing FaceBook™ page, great! If not, we'll automatically CREATE ONE FOR YOU! Just let us know on the order form and we'll take it from there!

Easy and Fast!

The ICAN GoSocial™ Facebook Management service is hands down the easiest and fastest way stay on top of your social presence. We do it all for you... So you can focus on what's important - run your business!

Hi from Don Leopard, see this new unparalleled marketing tool
55 months ago

Have some input?