Online, Brick-and-Mortar, and NFTs: Diversifying One’s Retail Profile
Everyone knows that old line about casting a wide net. The wider you cast your net, the more fish you catch. For a company selling a product, casting a wide net means selling goods in a variety of methods to reach and convince the biggest spread of potential customers. As technology advances, a wise business leader expands their net to include new innovations and ideas. The sooner we embrace and integrate new strategies to sell our products, the sooner our products will begin selling in new ways. By diversifying one’s retail footprint to sell in every available channel, businesses can maximize their market penetration and exposure while making sure not to leave money on the table.
Most product manufacturers today got their start in brick-and-mortar retail. The rise of online retail has certainly been a threat to physical shopping spaces; however, rumors of their death have been greatly exaggerated for years now. Brick-and-mortar is peerless when it comes to getting customers direct exposure to your product, as nothing beats that tactile sense of being there with an item before buying. As a sticker company, for example, we've enjoyed our recent expansion to physical stores as clients can enjoy an impulse buy, and experience first-hand the high quality of our wares. And a customer happy with a set of stickers they bought at a store may well convert into an online customer, ready to place a custom order or buy in bulk.
Online retail, on the other hand, is the most convenient way to shop today. During the pandemic, getting whatever one needs without leaving the house isn't just fun and convenient, but literally a potential lifesaver. Online shopping tools continue to grow more robust and accessible, ideal for made-to-order companies that let consumers design their own product. Our customers, for example, can design their stickers, decals, labels, and more using our website without ever having to visit a store or talk to a sales rep. And online shopping offers a much faster sale cycle than brick-and-mortar, with the time and effort between awareness of a product’s availability and an order sometimes measured in only minutes.
Today, brands willing to adopt new technologies have another exciting way to sell their ideas: non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Guaranteed by the blockchain, these proofs of ownership allow consumers to claim online particular images and assets as their own. Companies can mint and sell NFTs of their products and designs for their customers to own and trade. Not only can NFTs sell for quite a lot of money to an interested investor, they can dramatically raise the prestige and name recognition of the minting brand. And companies that sell NFTs don't lose the actual rights to the images and IPs themselves, but can use smart contracts to continue profiting from resales of a single token. This also presents an opportunity for a brand to support the artist and creator economies.
Each of these methods of selling goods has its own strengths and weaknesses. A wise business owner doesn’t pick just one, but diversifies across all three. Brands that generally do well in brick-and-mortar stores suffered during the pandemic until they could pivot to the web. The NFT marketplace is booming fast, but requires wider buy-in to thrive. Online sales are convenient, but not as direct and tactile as in-store transactions. By casting their net wide and embracing a diverse retail footprint, companies can expose the maximum potential customers to their products and come one step closer to becoming a household brand name.
Andrew Witkin is the founder and CEO of StickerYou, a global e-commerce leader in custom-printed, die-cut products that empowers consumers and businesses to create high-quality materials for personal expression, marketing, and packaging.
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