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Should you consider going hybrid?



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The dynamics of our lives are always changing and so does our way of living. One important part of our life is the business world. This constantly changing nature of our business presents us with new challenges; sometimes in the form of questions. The topic of this article also relates to one new arising question for retailers in modern settings. But before we look at this question we need to understand why the need to ask this question has become vital for today’s businesses.


The era of digitalization has changed the way we interact with many things. From the way we store pictures to the way we communicate each walk our life has seen tremendous changes along with the rising digitalization of our lives. The shopping world stands not alone and has also witnessed changing dynamics – eCommerce. We all are aware of its growing popularity. It’s not to say that traditional offline shopping is not relevant anymore; it’s still the dominant method but the way eCommerce is growing it can’t be ignored. This brings us to the question that is also the topic for this article “Should you consider going hybrid?”


What is a hybrid retail business?

A hybrid retail business is any business that has its presence both offline and online. Many of these businesses might have started as offline stores but owing to increasing inclination towards online shopping have stepped into the eCommerce channel as well. By establishing their presence online these retail businesses seek to provide their customers with omni-channel experience and flexibility to buy their products from anywhere, anytime. 


When should you consider going hybrid retail?

Many business owners ponder if they should establish their online store along with a physical one. While there could be many factors contributing to the need to establish an online store alongside a physical store and enter into a hybrid model depending on your specific business nature and needs, some common aspects include:


Competition

Competition is the driving factor behind many business decisions and this seems to be the case here as well. If your competitors offer customers the facilities that come with online shopping then your customers will also expect the same from your business, making the online store a standard in the industry you serve. Therefore, as a business owner, you must be aware of the expectations and standards of your niche and align yourself with them. This way you can ensure that your customers are retained and you don’t lose your spot in the competition. In such cases, having an online store will establish your credibility as an effective business that understands and cares about the emerging trends and needs of the market by keeping itself up-to-date.


Type of products

The type of products you deal in also matters significantly for a hybrid model. While an online store can bring benefits for all types of businesses the nature of some products & services makes it more relevant to sell online. For example, some products are bulky and sometimes it’s not possible to stock and display all of your product range at all of your physical stores due to limited space. When you also have an online store you can sell them all in one place and deliver them to the customers irrespective of whether their local store has them in stock. Furthermore, if the customer wishes to inspect the product in person before buying they can check the nearest store for availability of their desired product and visit that particular store. The hybrid model in such cases, thus, enables you to sell such products efficiently.


Customer preference

Every business has a different customer and their preferences. Therefore, whether you should opt for a hybrid business or not also pretty much depends on the types of customers you’ve and what they prefer. This requires you to carefully study the preferences of your customers: what they value in your business and if that aligns with the eCommerce, if they’re proficient enough with technology to consider online shopping, and whether they belong to the demographic that indulges in online shopping. These and many other questions must be answered to come to the right conclusion if an online channel would be suitable for your business or not.


Capability

Of course, entering into an online domain requires a proper set-up that needs investment in the form of money, time, and effort. Sometimes you might not have the necessary skillset and infrastructure to manage an eCommerce store and acquiring it would involve spending money and efforts. Thus, it’s necessary to conduct a cost-benefit analysis and understand the risk involved. If for some reason your online store doesn’t prove successful then you can incur loss. Each business can understand its own limits and should consider those when making this or any other important decision.


Conclusion

Businesses are evolving with time and as a business person, one must understand the dynamics of the market where they serve if they want to thrive well in it. These changing conditions call us to keep evaluating and considering the important aspects that can help us make important decisions, keeping ourselves parallel to them efficiently. The factors discussed here in this article shed some light on the important points one must consider when deciding to establish an online store for their physical retail business. However, we must also realize that the business world is vast and each business is unique. Thus, these factors are not enough on their own and every business must diligently analyze its business and the factors relevant to them before entering into the hybrid model.


The x2xeCommerce provides integration solutions for these hybrid businesses in the domain of ERP, POS, eCommerce platforms, and accounting. If you’re looking to establish a hybrid retail business or already have one then the x2x team can help you as well. An example of the integration solution by the x2x team is the x2xeCommerce RMH-BC integration solution. Reach out to the x2x team for any query or a free demo.



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