Retail Store vs. E-commerce: What is a Retail Store and Which One is Right for You?

· Building Your Site,Promoting Your Site,Entrepreneurship
Female Customer Shopping in a Retail Store

Are you considering starting a retail business but unsure whether to go the traditional brick-and-mortar route or venture into the world of e-commerce? Choosing the right option can make or break your business, so it's crucial to weigh the advantages and challenges of each.

But if you’re asking yourself “what is a retail store?” then you’re just at the right place.

Retail has existed for centuries, with merchants selling goods in marketplaces and storefronts. E-commerce, on the other hand, is a relatively new phenomenon that has exploded in popularity over the past few decades. With more people shopping online than ever, it's essential to consider whether e-commerce is right for your business.

Enter Strikingly - a website builder that helps businesses establish their online presence quickly and easily. But before diving into how Strikingly can help you build your e-commerce site, let's explore the pros and cons of retail stores and e-commerce.

What is a Retail Store?

Retail stores are physical locations where customers can browse products in person and make purchases on-site. E-commerce refers to selling products or services online through a website or digital platform.

Types of Retail Businesses

There are various types of retail businesses, each specializing in different products or services. Here are some common types of retail businesses:

  • Department Stores. These large-scale retail stores offer a wide range of products across multiple categories, such as clothing, electronics, furniture, and household goods.
  • Specialty Stores. These retail businesses focus on specific product categories or niche markets, catering to a specific audience. Examples include clothing boutiques, toy stores, pet supply stores, or bookshops.
Zikape Online Store Template for a Retail Store

Image taken from Strikingly


  • Supermarkets and Grocery Stores. These retail businesses primarily sell food and grocery items, including fresh produce, packaged goods, beverages, and household essentials.
  • Convenience Stores. Typically open for extended hours or 24/7, convenience stores offer a limited selection of everyday items, such as snacks, beverages, toiletries, and basic groceries.
  • Discount Stores. These retail businesses offer products at discounted prices. They often carry a wide range of items, including clothing, household goods, electronics, and personal care products. Examples include Walmart and Target.
  • Online Retailers. E-commerce has gained significant popularity, and many retail businesses operate exclusively online, selling products through websites and online marketplaces. Examples include Amazon, eBay, and Shopify-based stores.
  • Specialty Food Stores. These retail businesses focus on selling specialized food products like organic, gourmet, or health food items. Examples include health food stores, cheese shops, and ethnic food markets.
  • Home Improvement Stores. These retail businesses cater to customers looking for home improvement, renovation, and construction products. They offer items like tools, building materials, appliances, and home décor.
  • Pharmacies. These retail businesses primarily sell prescription and over-the-counter medications, health products, and personal care items. They often provide pharmacy services such as prescription filling and consultation.
  • Apparel and Fashion Retailers. These businesses specialize in clothing, footwear, and accessories for men, women, and children. They may range from luxury boutiques to fast-fashion chains.
  • Electronics Stores. These retail businesses focus on selling consumer electronics such as smartphones, computers, televisions, audio equipment, and related accessories.
  • Auto Parts Stores. These retail businesses offer automotive parts, accessories, and maintenance products for cars, trucks, and motorcycles. They may also provide services like battery installation or oil changes.

These are just a few examples of the different type of rails business, and the retail industry encompasses a vast array of businesses, each catering to specific customer needs and preferences.

Choosing between retail and e-commerce is crucial for any business owner because it impacts everything from overhead costs to customer reach. Making an informed decision can mean the difference between success and failure.

Retail has existed since ancient times when merchants sold goods in open-air markets. E-commerce emerged with the rise of the Internet in the 1990s but didn't gain widespread popularity until companies like Amazon made online shopping more accessible.

The Role of Strikingly in Building Online Presence

Strikingly provides businesses with an easy-to-use platform for building websites optimized for e-commerce sales. With features like secure payment processing and customizable templates, Strikingly makes setting up an online store simple.

Advantages of Retail Stores

When you are learning what is a retail store, you have to understand that retail stores have been around for centuries and are still popular among shoppers today. They offer a tangible shopping experience that cannot be replicated online. Here are some advantages of choosing a retail store:

1. Tangible

shopping experience

When you shop at a retail store, you get to see, touch, and feel the products before making a purchase. This is especially important when buying items like clothing or furniture where fit and comfort are essential.

2. Personalized customer service

Retail stores provide personalized customer service that cannot be matched by online shopping. You can ask questions about the products, get recommendations from knowledgeable staff, and even try out different options before deciding.

3. Better understanding of local market

Retail stores better understand the local market since they are physically present in the area. They can tailor their product offerings to meet their customers' specific needs and preferences.

4. Ability to showcase products in person

Retail stores offer the ability to showcase products in person which can help to increase sales. Customers can see how products work or look in real life, which can lead to more informed purchasing decisions.

Shop Delicious Online Store Template

Image taken from Strikingly


When you’re learning about what is a retail store, know that retail stores offer unique advantages that e-commerce sites cannot replicate. A tangible shopping experience, personalized customer service, a better understanding of local markets, and the ability to showcase products in person make retail stores attractive to many shoppers.

As you consider what type of business is right for you, it's important to know what is a retail store and how it differs from an ecommerce store. You also need to weigh both the advantages and challenges of each option carefully. With Strikingly's help building your online presence, you can decide whether a retail store or e-commerce site is best suited for your needs and goals without breaking the bank!

Advantages of E-commerce

E-commerce has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its numerous advantages over traditional retail stores. Here are some of the benefits of e-commerce:

1. Global reach

One of the most significant advantages of e-commerce is that it enables businesses to reach a global audience. Unlike retail stores, which are limited to serving customers within a specific geographic area, e-commerce allows businesses to sell their products and services anywhere in the world.

2. 24/7 availability

Another advantage of e-commerce is that it provides customers with 24/7 availability. With an online store, customers can shop anytime, anywhere in the world, without worrying about store hours or location.

3. Reduced overhead costs

E-commerce also offers cost savings compared to traditional retail stores. With an online store, businesses don't have to pay for rent, utilities, or other expenses associated with maintaining a physical storefront.

4. Access to customer data for analysis

E-commerce provides businesses with valuable data on their customer's shopping habits and preferences that they can use for analysis and marketing purposes. This data includes information such as purchase history, browsing behavior, and demographic information.

While retail stores still have their place in the market, e-commerce offers numerous advantages that cannot be ignored by modern businesses looking to expand their reach and reduce costs. At Strikingly, we understand the importance of building a strong online presence through effective website design and optimization strategies tailored to each business's unique needs and goals.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Between Retail Store vs. Ecommerce

When deciding between what is a retail store and e-commerce, there are various factors to consider. These factors will help determine which option fits your business needs best. Here are some of the key factors to consider:

1. Budget

Budget is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing between a what is retail store and e-commerce. Retail stores require a significant amount of capital upfront, including rent, utilities, and inventory costs. On the other hand, e-commerce businesses have lower overhead costs but require investment in website development and marketing.

2. Target audience

Understanding your target audience is crucial when deciding between what is a retail store retail store and e-commerce. Retail stores are better suited for businesses targeting local customers who prefer in-person shopping experiences. E-commerce businesses can reach a global audience but may require more effort to build brand recognition.

3. Type of product or service

The type of product or service you offer can also influence your decision between a retail store and e-commerce. For example, a physical store may be necessary if you sell perishable goods or items that require fitting rooms. However, if you offer digital products or services that can be delivered online, an e-commerce model may be more suitable.

Jigsaw Puzzle Online Store Template for Retail Stores

Image taken from Strikingly


4. Long-term goals and growth potential

It's essential to consider your long-term goals and growth potential when choosing between a retail store and an e-commerce model. Retail stores have limited scalability due to physical space constraints while e-commerce businesses can scale more easily with less investment.

Overall, choosing between what is a retail store retail store and e-commerce requires careful consideration of these key factors. When it comes to building an online presence for your business, Strikingly is an excellent option regardless of whether you choose retail or e-commerce as your primary model.

Final thoughts: While both options have their advantages and challenges, ultimately choosing the right fit depends on understanding your business needs and goals. With the right approach and tools like Strikingly, you can build a successful online presence regardless of which model you choose.

Challenges of Retail Stores

Retail stores have been around for centuries, providing customers with a tangible shopping experience. However, this type of business faces several challenges that can impact its success.

1. High overhead costs

One of the biggest challenges for retail stores is high overhead costs. Rent, utilities, and employee salaries can quickly add up, leaving little room for profit. This is especially true for small businesses that may not have the resources to negotiate better rates or invest in cost-saving technologies.

2. Limited reach

Another challenge faced by retail stores is limited reach. Unlike e-commerce businesses, which can sell products globally, retail stores are often limited to their local market. This can make it difficult to attract new customers or expand the business.

3. Dependence on foot traffic

Retail stores also depend heavily on foot traffic to generate sales. Sales will suffer if a store is located in an area with low foot traffic or experiences a decrease in visitors due to external factors (such as a pandemic).

4. Responsiveness to trends and competition

Finally, retail stores must be responsive to trends and competition in order to stay relevant and competitive in the market. Failing to keep up with changing consumer preferences or failing to differentiate from competitors can lead to decreased sales and, ultimately, failure.

While retail stores offer a unique shopping experience and personalized customer service, they face significant challenges such as high overhead costs, limited reach, dependence on foot traffic, and responsiveness to trends and competition. It's important for businesses considering this type of venture to carefully weigh these factors before making a decision.

Strikingly can help businesses overcome some of these challenges by providing an easy-to-use platform for building an online presence that complements their physical store location. By having both an online and offline presence, businesses can expand their reach while still providing customers with the benefits of a tangible shopping experience.

Challenges of E-commerce

E-commerce has revolutionized the retail industry, but it's not without its challenges. E-commerce businesses face unique obstacles that require careful consideration.

1. Increased competition

One of the biggest challenges of e-commerce is increased competition. With low barriers to entry, anyone can start an online store, which means your business competes with thousands of others for attention and sales. To stand out from the crowd, you need a solid marketing strategy and a unique value proposition that sets you apart from your competitors.

2. Technical expertise required

Another challenge of e-commerce is the technical expertise required to build and maintain an online store. From website design to payment processing, e-commerce businesses need a strong understanding of technology to succeed. This can be daunting for entrepreneurs who are not tech-savvy, but there are many resources available to help you navigate these challenges.

3. Dependence on technology and internet

E-commerce businesses also face the challenge of dependence on technology and the Internet. Any downtime or technical issues can lead to lost sales and frustrated customers. It's important to have backup plans in place for when things go wrong, such as alternative payment methods or customer service channels.

4. Shipping and logistics challenges

Shipping and logistics can be a major challenge for e-commerce businesses. Managing inventory levels, shipping costs, and delivery times requires careful planning and execution. It's important to work with reliable shipping partners and have clear policies in place for returns and exchanges.

Fresh Finest Online Store Template for Retail Store

Image taken from Strikingly


While e-commerce offers many advantages over traditional retail stores, it also comes with challenges that must be carefully considered before launching an online store. As always, Strikingly is here to help you build a strong online presence to stand up against any obstacle!

Retail Store or Ecommerce? Take Your Pick.

By now, you should know what is a retail store and how it’s different from an ecommerce store. Both retail stores and e-commerce have their advantages and challenges. Retail stores offer a tangible shopping experience, personalized customer service, a better understanding of the local market, and the ability to showcase products in person. On the other hand, e-commerce provides global reach, 24/7 availability, reduced overhead costs, and access to customer data for analysis.

When choosing between what is a retail store and e-commerce, factors such as budget, target audience, type of product or service, and long-term goals and growth potential should be considered. It's essential to determine the right fit for your business.

Strikingly plays an important role in building an online presence by providing easy-to-use website templates that are optimized for search engines. With Strikingly's help, businesses can create professional-looking websites that attract customers and drive sales.

Whether you choose a retail store or e-commerce depends on your specific business needs. By carefully considering the advantages and challenges of each option and using Strikingly to build your online presence, you can make an informed decision that will benefit your business in the long run.