About a decade or so ago, the trend was to take your business online. Whether you decided to complement your offline business with your online presence, or removed your brick-and-mortar entirely to favor your online version, what mattered was you had a website. Now the trend seems to be the reverse: for purely online businesses to establish a physical address, an actual shop that customers can enter.
Should you shift to offline entirely?
The short answer is no. You need a website. If you ever decide to expand, having a physical store and perhaps branches of it is just the tip of the iceberg. You can reach more of your target markets if you are available on the Internet. If you ever sell products to the Middle Eastern market, for example, you can do so through your site and have your master distributor in Dubai like Sales MENA deal with local shops willing to sell your products. Without your website, it will be more difficult not only to sell but to market. It will also be a lot more expensive.
Do you need a physical store?
You are probably wondering why all of a sudden merchants are shifting to the use of physical stores in addition to their online ones. These days, establishing your brand is better served by the presence of a brick and mortar. Besides, the latest Google algorithm update called Possum is making a physical store more worth your while. Not only is it possible now to rank for your own city in local and mobile searches, but it is also helpful to your website because similar addresses, business names, and owners on different online listings are “consolidated” by the search engine, possibly improving your search ranking.
Think about these matters whenever you are faced with the question of whether a physical or a purely online location is more helpful. There should be a healthy combination of both so your business gets maximum benefits.