From Ecommerce to Bricks and Mortar

With the advent of the internet, it’s easier than ever for small businesses to start up their shop. Given that there’s now no need to buy or rent a physical, brick and mortar shop to start a business, ecommerce had allowed many companies to start up in the world of the internet by offering their products to a wider audience without the costs usually associated with starting up.

online goes offline

The state of things

Given the state of the economy, it’s no surprise that most small businesses are nervous to branch out or prepare for growth.

Since the economic crash of 2008, it’s been difficult to apply for loans for start-up businesses, but there could be light at the end of the tunnel. With new government incentives – in the form of the Funding for Lending scheme – being set up, and with the news that the economy has increased by 0.6% in the first quarter of 2013, business people and shareholders are quietly optimistic about what the coming year has in store for the UK.

Retail on and offline

Given the comparative ease of setting up an online shop on eBay or creating a website for ecommerce, it’s no surprise that increasingly businesses are finding their roots in the online world. But it looks like more and more internet-based companies are choosing to branch out into the high street.

Only a few years after setting up a shop on eBay, furniture sellers Oak Furniture Land have been opening up physical shops all over the UK in the past few years. And now, many more online businesses appear to be following suit.

One such company is After enjoying success in the online world selling electronic cigarettes, the business has set up a shop in Swansea, Wales.

James Dunworth, co-founder of the company, said: “E-cigarettes are no longer a niche market – they are becoming more and more mainstream.

“Since we started trading in 2008, we have had orders from all over the UK, as well as providing e-cigarettes to the Middle East, Australia, New Zealand, America, Canada and much of Europe.

“We’ve even provided the Welsh National Opera with e-cigarettes for their production of Carmen, an opera set in a tobacco factory.

“However, customers have told us they want to be able to pop to a shop to get their electronic cigarette supplies, especially if they have forgotten to order refills.”

Who benefits?

Not only does setting up a brick and mortar shop mean increased brand awareness for online businesses, but it helps the local economy too.

While there’s no need for many employees when sales are mainly online-based, shops require additional employees. Creating more jobs for the local community will in turn boost the economy – so it’s not just the small business that can benefit from branching out.

Photo credit: Qype