Let’s first define what is Offline Business? When it comes to starting a business it’s important you select the right option for you. That’s because there are two types of business either online or offline. Both of them have their advantages and disadvantages. This is not to say that from a marketing standpoint you will not market an online business off of the Internet, or offline business on the Internet. You probably will.
In this informative post, we will look at the offline model in detail, and why you are missing out on potential business that your competitors have not the time to pursue.
What Is Offline Business?
Offline has come to mean that it is not connected to the Internet. Offline business is conducted off of the Internet. We think of theses as brick and mortar businesses. Brісk аnd mоrtаr refers to a trаdіtіоnаl street-side buѕіnеѕѕ. These оffеr their рrоduсtѕ аnd ѕеrvісеѕ to its сuѕtоmеrѕ fасе-tо-fасе in an office or ѕtоrе thаt the buѕіnеѕѕ owns оr rents. Thе local grocery ѕtоrе and thе соrnеr bаnk аrе examples оf brісk-аnd-mоrtаr соmраnіеѕ.
Home-based businesses are run out of the home or start their day in the home. Examples include babysitting, hairstylist, party planner, selling hair products, and others.
Many home-based businesses are run out of the home but are not conducted in the home. Some that come to mind are dog walker, party clown, trades such as a plumber or electrician, pet grooming, and elderly care. These are really a hybrid offline/home-based business.
Interacting With Customers
Offline business involves face to face interaction which ensures customers get to see what your business is all about. For instance, you will be able to interact with them, since the clients can physically visit your office. If you’re confident and engaging making sales can be a simple process. One thing you should remember is that as an offline business you’ll have to focus on a specific locality. Local businesses tend to thrive in a specific location ie. a city, county, or region.
The local business market is doing really well in spite of the Internet. Offline local businesses that have embraced the changes the World Wide Web has brought are even doing better than before. Businesses that have been slow coming to the party are getting left behind. I have read that there are still 50% of businesses in the United States that do not have a website.
They are missing a real opportunity to interact with existing and potential new customers. A website is really a must for offline businesses and a great way to bring their business online.
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We have talked about local businesses. On the other hand, online stores can target an entire country, location, or even the World Wide Web. However, you can spread your offline business by having several chains in varying localities which ensures you increase your visibility. You can also sell out your store, but ship all over the world if you want. eCommerce has allowed businesses to expand their markets. More on eCommerce below.
Offline businesses build or lease facilities for their clients. For online companies, e-commerce websites are global storefronts. It means that the market for offline companies can sometimes be limited when you compare it to online ones. For example, if you run an offline restaurant your client base may be limited to the community around it which restricts the growth opportunities.
Many traditional business ventures have become unprofitable since they can’t compete with the low-cost nature of online businesses. Malls or strip malls are a sad example of this. Some of our oldest businesses, such as Sears, are failing because they did not adapt to the changing marketplace. Many smaller retail outlets in strip malls do not have the traffic they need to survive as well.
I have noticed a resurgence in malls lately, however. If you have the right combination of businesses and location people still like to shop. A good mall gives people a reason to get out of the house and not everyone wants to buy everything online. Factory outlet stores are another example of brick and mortar that gets people to come to them. You can order online and pick up at the store.
You go to a factory outlet store to save money. What has happened is all kinds of businesses have sprung up around them including competitors and restaurants.
eCommerce is defined as electronic commerce. This is a business that is done on the Internet. Why would I talk about e-commerce in an article about offline business? Here’s why.
I see business to business buying and selling coming out of e-commerce. One business may be selling online using a website and telephone. The other business may be buying and selling at their retail location. eCommerce has opened up a whole new world of opportunities this way.
Mom & Pop Shops
Mom and Pop stores buy online and sell in their stores. These are married couples running a small business offline. They capitalize on the marketplace by expanding its distribution channels. By spending a little more time online they can find discounted products at merchants such as Wal Mart, Target, eBay, and Amazon.
This has increased the bottom line of these small operators. It has also helped some of them grow which has meant hiring more employees to help with the increased demand.
Fulfillment By Amazon
Amazon is the largest retailer in the world. One way they have achieved this is by working with small offline businesses and helping them in the whole customer fulfillment process.
Here is how Amazon FBA Works
- First, you join the Amazon FBA program. This will allow you to sell with Amazon.
- You find products you want to sell. You order those, but you ship them to an Amazon warehouse.
- Amazon stores the products for you. You then promote them on Amazon.
- A customer buys a product from you on the Amazon website. Amazon pulls the order and gets it ready to ship.
- Amazon ships to the customer. Amazon takes it’s free and pays you 2 times a month.
This again is a hybrid of online and offline business. This works so well that businesses of all kinds are getting in on the action.
Benefits Of Offline Businesses
One of the benefits of an offline business is that it makes it easier for customers to decide on what products or services to purchase. That’s because they can touch and see the item before choosing to make the purchase or not. Remember that successful offline businesses do have an online presence too, which means they can still reach clients who may not be willing to go to the physical store or office. The real successful offline businesses are online if they have a business that can benefit from being there.
Another advantage of an offline business is it enables you to build brand loyalty with your customers. For example, some may prefer buying after touching a product, which means the chances of returning it are minimized. For many businesses, your offline choice is the best model. For example, if you run a restaurant you can advertise the menu online. However, you can’t serve your customers online.
The same case applies if you run a car dealership since you have to employ sales staff to take clients through the process of leasing or buying benefits. Online shopping for cars though has never been better.
As I said earlier many offline businesses cannot be conducted online. Trade businesses such as handyman, plumbing, HVAC, carpet cleaning, and an electrician, have to conducted offline just by what they do. However again these businesses still need an online website to reach new customers and remind their old ones who they are. Companies such as Townsquare Media. Townsquare Media are building websites and offering digital advertising to complement offline marketing such as radio ads.
The Disadvantage of Offline Businesses
If you were to write out the advantages of an online business most of those would be disadvantages of an offline business. For example, many of these are related to the overhead an offline business has.
- Rent. An offline business has to pay rent on a physical location. An online business pays $5 a month to host a website.
- Employees. Most offline businesses have a secretary, front desk person, and other employees. An offline business takes advantage of outsourcing to pay a specific rate for a job completed. This saves on salaries and benefits that an offline business has.
- Marketing. Many offline businesses still rely on offline marketing.
Some still take out big yellow page ads. Many still do direct mail.
I list these are a disadvantage mostly because of cost and getting eyeballs on the offer. Yellow pages do not work anymore. Direct mail is seasonal for some and still viable for others such as pizza chains, Great Clips, and so on.
What Is Online Business?
I’m still surprised to read that over 50% of all offline businesses do not have a website. The most common response as to why they don’t have a website is they say because all of their customers know how to get a hold of them. My response to that is how about all the people who are not your customers? How do they get a hold of you? In these days and times, offline businesses need an online presence. Usually, this is going to be a website or a blog.
However, I see many smaller offline businesses relying more on their social media sites to be their websites. Facebook is a very good example of this.
A business will buy a domain name and redirect it to their Facebook page. Papa Mike’s in Bella Vista is an example of a restaurant that uses their Facebook account effectively. They do not even have a website. They do know that baby boomers and senior citizens are more social media savvy.
Since this is their market they use Facebook to reach them. They keep their page updated and add specials to it all of the time. They will then do some additional social media marketing on Twitter and possibly YouTube video marketing. The key point here is that all offline businesses should have an online presence.
Not only does this make them seem more legitimate, but it’s a way to attract new customers less expensively. For example, offline venues such as Yellow Pages, radio, direct mail, newspaper, and some.
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Conclusion: What Is Offline Business Marketing?
As a business owner who wants the best returns on your investments, you should consider using both offline and online models. For example, newspapers have come up with online portals that improve interaction with customers and incorporate multimedia.
When it comes to banking you can view your account balance, pay bills, and transfer funds online. On the other hand, you can still decide to go to the local branch and apply for loans or withdraw cash.
For the best results it’s crucial you use both means to enable you to provide quality services and assist you to reach broad audiences. Offline and online businesses are using a hybrid model in many cases and this works great. It cuts costs while opening new marketing channels and profit centers!
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