As shocking as it may seem, there are still some leading brands who don’t sell their products online or via digital marketing methods such as Google Ads or Paid Social Media. Although they may have a website, it’s impossible to purchase from them unless you visit one of their physical stores.
A survey carried out in 2019 revealed that 75% of the UK’s small businesses don’t have a website, while an even larger number of US companies opt to go without any online presence.
Given recent times with the Coronavirus pandemic, many (if not all) businesses have been affected one way or another so we can anticipate how this has affected those who are not online.
So, let’s delve a little further into each firm…
As one of the most popular high street stores within the UK, Primark is the first on our list of firms who don’t sell online. They are a retailer offering low-priced products including homeware, women’s/men’s clothing, children’s clothing, beauty, accessories and more. They also compete with the likes of H&M, Zara and more.
One of Primark’s biggest selling points is it’s budget prices which allows a lot of shoppers to fill their baskets without having to break the bank.
However, one of the most asked questions by Primark fans is why can’t we buy online?!
Back in 2019, John Bason – who is the Finance Chief of Primark’s parent company Associated British Foods – told The Mirror: “Look at a £2 T-shirt. It’s clickety-click but one-third of the clothes bought online get returned. That means someone has to pick it up, someone has to deliver it, someone in the store has to take it back, refold it. It doesn’t work at a lower price point”.
Therefore, this is the reason why Primark don’t sell online. If they did, they’d have to put their prices up and, let’s face it, no one wants that!
A Canadian chain of discount home furnishing stores, Homesense expanded to Europe in 2008 and to the US in 2017.
They specialist in home furnishings and their products range from low end to named brands. Many of their prices tend to be low to account for discontinued lines or even some minor defects with their products.
As a UK leading retailer of a huge variety of products, B&M has grown to over 600 stores and they sell top branded products at discounted prices. Some of these products include furniture, garden tools and accessories, food, drink and more.
B&M released a very brief statement on their website explaining how their website is for browsing only. So if you’re looking to make a purchase, you’ll need to visit one of their stores.
It hasn’t been confirmed but there are speculations that we’re unable to purchase on their website down to similar reasons to Primark.
Poundland is a British variety store selling the majority of their items at just £1 each. As an English brand, the US also has similar stores including Dollar Tree, 99 Cents Only, The Dollar Store and more
They offer around 3,500 products of which 1,000 are mainly branded food and drinks. Since 2016, they sell Pep&Co clothing which costs more than the £1 single-price of other products within their stores.
They’ve also teamed up with many celebrities to form exclusive new ranges including TOWIE stars Ferne McCann and Mario Falcone for health and beauty ranges.
Poundland has never sold online before but they have plans to trial online home delivery in 2021 due to the increase in people shopping via the internet throughout COVID-19.
However, it’s not just large firms who choose not to sell online as, even today, a surprising amount of small businesses still have no online store.
Around 14% of British small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are selling their products via a website which means a HUGE number of SMEs aren’t. It’s very surprising when we can see that over 60% of Europe’s population use the internet regularly.
So let’s talk about returns
Given recent times, returns have become more prevalent than ever as online shopping numbers continue to rise. With the addition of increased returns windows (some up to 60 days), many consumers have been seen to taking a nonchalant approach to returning the products they buy online. On average, prior to Coronavirus, it was found that 30% of all products ordered online are returned compared to just 8.89% from brick-and-mortar stores.
Here are some facts, around 92% of consumers have stated that they would buy from the same shop again if their returns process is easy and 79% of consumers also want free returns. Due to this demand, around 49% of retailers now offer free returns shipping.
From the same survey, it was found that 67% of shopper check the returns page before they make a purchase to ensure they have the ability to return an item, and also find out whether it’s going to cost them. Furthermore, 62% of shoppers have said that they’re more likely to purchase from an online store if they have the ability to return an item via their physical store.
With this huge increase in returns culture (especially during COVID), it’s not surprising that companies who offer significantly lower prices than the “norm” choose not to have an online store.
However, the presence of an e-commerce store allows you to stay competitive and also promote your products across the globe. Additionally, there’s the additional fact that e-commerce websites tend to carry far fewer costs than brick-and-mortar stores. Companies can save on rent/building fees, save on staff numbers as you wouldn’t need to have people within the store and also take advantage of different streams of traffic to the website.
In conclusion, e-commerce stores may not be right for every business but it’s important to consider an e-commerce website if you are a retailer.
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