A recent article about the ongoing challenges that brick and mortar stores face in our day and the ever-increasing popularity of ecommerce websites was the impetus for these words. The article implied that there are essentially two options, i.e brick and mortar stores and e-commerce websites, for consumers and institutions today. We beg to differ. We’ll first overview the above two options and then suggest a third choice, one that we believe best saves you dollars and provides the overall best purchasing experience.
- Brick and Mortar Stores: Obviously there was a day when this was the only option available. One might take a full day and travel from one physical location to another looking for the “best” deal. Stores were hesitant to give pricing over the phone. The cost of providing a storefront is very expensive and depends on enticing customers into that store. The end result: A lot of time is spent traveling and dickering and shopping, and because of great amount of “overhead” costs by the store that is associated with this form of commerce, there really is little possibility of “savings” being realized.
- E-commerce: This option is becoming very popular today and certainly has SOME advantages. Obviously you can stay at home and shop via a computer screen and keyboard. If you need assistance, you can often “chat” with someone most likely located in India or some other overseas location. But there are some other factors to consider. The cost of creating the sites, constantly maintaining and updating the sites, training the “chatters”, paying for software and development, and trying to handle and process the inevitable “mistakes” that plague e-commerce sites today create significant costs for the vendor that have to recaptured from the customer. You can spend a day here as well seeing which site has the best price on on the items you are looking for. Our own research would seem to indicate that on more complicated purchases, the actual cost to the customer is much higher than it needs to be.
- The Best of Both: At Church Furniture Partner we have found that a third option does legitimately exist to save dollars for the customer – the Hybrid. By working with a business model and philosophy that is stringent about maintaining almost zero overhead costs, by not trying to provide every item possible any customer might desire to purchase, and by providing personal communication for every purchase to try to eliminate those costly mistakes and returns, we consistently find our pricing to be well below those huge mega-sites that would seem to have a pricing advantage because of volume. A while back we wrote some this and this demonstrating our head to head ability to save you dollars is a fact! We’re more convinced of it than ever today!
We encourage you to give us a call or use our contact form to see for yourself that Church Furniture Partner can save your church, your school, your business, etc. dollars on all your furnishing needs! We will value the opportunity to do so!