Bridging the Gap: Why Online Innovations Don’t Have to Kill Offline Businesses
When the internet first started to take hold in the early noughties, the naysayers were quick to point out the negatives. Instead of lauding the advent of a digitally connected world and freely accessible information, some saw it as a doomsday scenario for anything not on the internet. High street shops were the main point of focus. With people able to shop online with relative ease, the need to visit local stores decreased. There’s no doubt that high streets across Kent suffered because of internet shopping.
However, there are countless examples of industries that have found a way to bridge the gap. They’ve found a way to get online businesses to help offline businesses and vice versa. Take, for example, click and collect. Supermarkets such as Tesco now allow users to order their groceries online and have them delivered or available for collection on a specified date. What are the advantages of this system? Well, for starters, it makes it easier for customers to shop.
It cuts down congestion within a supermarket and it creates more jobs. Finally, it’s convenient. A lot of people either don’t want to or can’t spend an hour in a supermarket doing a weekly shop. This could prompt them to either visit a smaller store and/or spend less. By offering an online service whereby the customer can browse efficiently before choosing a collection method that suits, supermarkets have made their offline business work in the digital age.
A World of Digital Options Opens the Doors to New Opportunities
It’s a similar story in the restaurant industry. Deliveroo has exposed restaurants to new demographics. Why? Aside from convenience, people are often more willing to try something different when they’re at home. For example, let’s say someone in Ashford was thinking about trying the kimchi and egg served at Macknade. That’s a fairly exotic dish and some people may not want to order it in the restaurant for fear they won’t like it and have to send it back. However, if they try it at home, there’s not the same level of pressure to pretend they like it. Companies such as Deliveroo also run promotions and offer discounts regularly. This, again, is a way for people to try new things.
Another industry that’s harnessed digital tech is the casino sector. The rise of online gaming sites has actually helped bricks and mortar businesses. Across the digital gaming sector, there are 4,000+ online slots for players to try. Having thousands of different games available online has made casino gaming more accessible. In turn, this has opened up the market to new people who are now more inclined to visit a bricks and mortar venue.
Businesses Need to Work Online and Offline
Thus, just like online casinos have helped people try something new, online delivery companies have done the same for restaurants. If someone can try something at home and they like it, they may then decide to visit the restaurant in person next time. Therefore, when we look at businesses and the way local companies can grow, the lesson here is that bridging the gap is important. So, let’s say Fenwick Canterbury wants to attract more people to its artisan marketplace.
A presence online is absolutely necessary. However, beyond that, there is scope for social media competitions, partnerships with delivery platforms and more. The key to business in 2021 and beyond is bridging the gap. It’s not online vs. offline. We’ve shown you two examples of industries that have managed this and there are many more. The internet hasn’t crushed the high street. It may have changed its dynamics, but it hasn’t killed it. In reality, it’s created new opportunities and that’s something businesses need to embrace.