What is the difference between offline and online shopping






It would seem that everything is obvious: one store has a real point of sale, a hall with products that you can touch and try on, the other is based in virtual space. However, in addition to the obvious things, there are some details you might not know. In this article, we’ll talk about the differences and similarities between real and virtual stores, and we’ll discuss whether it’s worth it to move a retail outlet from offline to online and vice versa.

Differences in business processes

In principle, both models use exactly the same business processes. These are the creation of a business plan, the launch or opening of a store, the purchase of goods, communication with consumers, advertising and marketing, warehouse and accounting, and so on. The whole point is that in the online store they are done by special programs, and in the real world – by real people. About Internet marketing check the site by Геннадий Ягупов.

Keeping stock

In small stores, the accounting of goods is done by cards or manually. There still close the doors in the old way and hang a sign Accounting, which can drag on for a day. In modern stores, of course, no such thing, accounting and record-keeping, as a rule, is conducted on a system of 1C.

The online store has an alternative to 1C: the warehouse is conducted in a cloud service, trade management system and other services. This allows you to control inventory and keep track of sales statistics.


In the offline store between the rows of boys and girls go, who spread the goods on the shelves according to a certain principle. You all know it: what needs to be sold quickly, laid out at the level of the buyer’s eyes, cheap goods are at the bottom or at the top, where it is difficult to reach.

In e-commerce, the role of merchandisers is played by product recommendation services. They analyze user behavior and offer him products which might interest him. The smart Instagram feed or Facebook algorithm works on the same principle – the user is shown posts or articles which a priori will be of interest to him. The service learns this information by analyzing a person’s behavior on the site, the products they have searched for and viewed, their order history, the contents of their cart and even their social network accounts. Based on this information the service gives personal recommendations to each client, which he can see and apply in practice.


In addition to personal communication with customers (which cannot happen in an online store for obvious reasons), there are mailings, phone calls, SMS notifications and instant messengers.

The online store can take communications to an automated level. There are chat-bots with the help of which it is possible to imitate a dialog between a seller and a customer and encourage the customer to make a purchase. There are other options for interaction – there are countless, and your task is to automate and simplify them as much as possible. Ideally, communications should involve as few people as possible, your employees.

Managers used to call each client who placed an order personally and explain what they had to do to receive the goods. At some point they just stopped calling: limited to sending a rebuff – a message that contains brief information about the product and instructions on what to do. If something is unclear, call – that’s what the text message said. Needless to say, almost no one called – everything was clear from the message. This meant that the time and effort involved in calling the clients was reduced.

Product categories

In both offline and online business, you personally set up the product categories. There is one universal recipe: if you don’t know what to sell, look up your competitors and especially the big players. They’ve already gone all the way through trial and error, they’ve already experimented and brought out the most optimal categories and filters. Look at how they design product cards, what they do photos, and do the same, and ideally – even better.

Note: on the site of your online store, make sure that category pages immediately show “puffs” to your users: discounts, promotions, and promo codes. This can be a banner or a popup window: the main thing is that this information does not pass by the client.

Online cash registers

Here, too, there is no particular difference. Retail and wholesale offline stores are switching to online cash registers on a mass scale. Much depends on the taxation system and the range of products.

The principle of cash registers in offline and online stores is the same: it is essentially a mini-computer that transmits data on each purchase to the tax office, prints receipts and reports, sends copies of the receipt to customers, accepts bank cards and even weighs goods. The main difference is in the way you pay for the goods. In the online store, as you know, the methods of payment are not limited to cash and card: it’s also payment systems, and cashless, and cash on delivery, and payment to the courier and so on. If the buyer transfers the money directly to the seller, he receives a receipt. If the payment is made through an intermediary – a courier, for example, then the check is issued by the courier service, which then pays the seller – yagupov.biz.


Items in which offline stores lose out on all counts. The platform of a modern store assumes integrations with various services for the convenience of the buyer and your employees.

Pros of online shopping

Let’s gather all the pros of offline and online shopping. Pros for entrepreneurs, of course.

  • The first and most obvious plus of e-commerce is its cheapness. Online stores does not need to pay rent for premises, at the initial stage you can not even hire employees and do everything yourself. And if there is no place to store products – you can generally be restricted to the creation and promotion of the site and work on the scheme dropshipping – you are an intermediary between the other store and customers. Your task is to coordinate their interaction and get a certain percentage for it.
  • The ability to analyze financial indicators, sales data, advertising effectiveness and other parameters. Such analytics cannot be compared with the offline version.
  • The cost of goods is lower than in a regular store. It costs you almost nothing, and an extra penny saved can be a powerful argument in your choice. If even the delivery is free – plus a bonus to your karma.
  • Customer time – it saves him money, but in the plus side you are. Not everyone is willing to kill hours and days driving around the usual stores and choosing the same product. The same actions can be done at home in front of the computer, around the clock, not in store mode. The convenience of the customer also converts into your profits. Many will choose an online store just because they don’t have to go anywhere.
  • In this any online store will give a head start to the offline outlet. You can order a product from anywhere in the world to any point, even in the middle of the countryside.
  • There are a lot of things you have to order: intimacy products, lingerie, sex shop goods. It can be inconvenient to go to such stores offline, but on the Internet – complete freedom, and the purchase will be delivered in a sealed package without any inscriptions.

Advantages of the offline store

  • The opportunity to see the product in person. Yes, we remember the detailed descriptions, photos and videos, but nothing compares to the opportunity to touch and see the goods in person, to try on different styles and sizes of clothing, to test appliances. Online stores, alas, will never have this.
  • The opportunity to buy immediately – not to wait for the goods to be delivered. Sometimes this is just necessary – for example, when you urgently need to buy a gift or buy new clothes to replace stained ones.
  • Both offline and online stores have returns. However, it is easier to return a product when you find faults in the regular retail store: just bring it and get your money back or give it for examination. Read about the features of returning goods in online stores here.
  • Online stores also provide a product warranty, but in the case of a product failure it will be much easier to get your money back if the product was purchased in an offline store. The very process of returning under warranty is much easier and more familiar organized offline.
  • Although the share of online sales is steadily increasing, there are still people who are much more used to buying offline. Many people do not trust online stores, afraid of fraud or inconsistency of quality declared in the photo that the notorious expectation-reality. Mostly these are older people.
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