The world is gradually becoming a “small village,” and online markets are slowly replacing the traditional offline markets. Just like anything else, each of the two approaches (Online and Offline Markets), has their challenges, drawbacks, and benefits. Although the dynamics of a specific business entity determine which of the two markets the owner targets, online markets have proven to be more profitable than their offline counterparts.
This is not to mean that we should altogether abolish and disregard offline markets. On the contrary, a hybrid of the two approaches might prove more profitable. Traditionally, small businesses had distinct goals of generating revenue and expanding to reach a larger local population in a specific market niche. Only a few large businesses sought to establish an online platform and they, obviously, did not put much effort.
This trend has changed, and most small and large business premises have an online presence and seem to target online markets. Below, we are going to keenly dissect the two aspects to determine, how they differ, how similar they are, and which among them is more profitable between online and offline markets.
Offline Market: These are, typically, all the markets with no interaction with the internet. In short, they include offline platforms like traditional markets and local buyers. Their main modes of marketing and advertising include radios, journals, magazines, banners, and print media, among others. In a jiffy, the markets do not get involved with the internet at all.
Online Market: Also referred to as digital markets, online markets have an online presence and use the internet to conduct most of their activities. Most of them have a website or any other avenue where internet users can reach them easily. They explore channels like online promotion, email advertising, and video advertising to gain popularity.
They both have ways to reach a vast population: Although offline markets may be considered somehow traditional, they still have ways of increasing sales and reaching more people. Online markets also have their unique ways of reaching a larger population and increasing sales. Offline market users mainly explore non-internet platforms like the use of radios, print media, burners, and individual promotions. On the other hand, online markets target a larger population, so they use more advanced and sophisticated methods to increase sales. For instance, online markets involve the use of website content, email marketing, and other online strategies to reach more people and increase sales.
Small and large business entities use both: There is this misguided notion that offline markets are for small businesses while online markets are for a large business. With the recent technological advancements, small businesses are also exploring online markets and reaping big. For instance, most small businesses have a website where they refer most of their buyers for a better understanding of their business operations. On the other hand, we have a few large business entities without an online presence. So, online and offline markets are explored by small and large entities alike.
Both require branding: For both online and offline markets, branding is vital. Branding distinguishes one’s products from those of their competitors. With online markets, branding may not be too costly, although there is always a larger risk of imitation. For offline markets, the seller also needs to brand their products to distinguish them from those of other sellers. Offline branding costs more than online branding since online marketers can use applications on the internet for branding, but offline ones need to employ the services of technicians to label and brand each of their products.
They both aim at making more profits: The main aim of any market is to increase sales and profits. Just like online marketers, offline sellers aim at increasing sales and making more profits. Although there is this belief that online markets yield higher earnings than offline ones, there are various factors which determine this. So, a blanket assumption would be misguided since the amount of money invested, the marketing strategies of the sellers, and the size of the market determine how much they earn in both markets.
They both require an initial capital: Investing in an offline market requires an initial capital just like in an online one. Although the money invested differs, the two markets need one to have a certain amount before venturing. Online markets may need one to invest in things like a website, hosting, SEO tools, and other things which increase sales. On the other hand, an online market may require the seller to invest in purchasing the goods, advertising, getting the physical premise, and also hiring employees.
One requires the internet while the other one doesn’t: Just like the name suggests, offline markets do not employ the use of the internet. This way, they lack an online presence, so buyers and sellers interact directly. The users employ simple means of advertising like radio and print media. They may not reach as many prospective buyers like online markets, but they still experience better conversions.
On the other hand, online markets are, purely, established on the internet and direct contact between the buyers and the sellers is minimal if not nil. Buyers place their orders on an online platform like a website, and they still get their purchased items without any physical contact. Online markets reach more prospective buyers than offline markets, although one has to invest more in increasing traffic to their business platform.
Online markets offer a better and precise measure of the reached population: Online markets enjoy the use of various tools like AdWords and Google Analytics to measure and determine performance. Although offline markets also have some ways of identifying and gauging performance, the methods are not sufficient and require too many manual calculations. So, an online marketer enjoys various performance measuring tools which make their work more comfortable and less time-consuming. For instance, if one uploads content into their website, they can use Google Analytics and Google search console to determine how popular the content is and how many people have checked it out. Unfortunately, that is not the case with offline markets. Once you advertise your business in a magazine, it is not possible to know how many people viewed the advert. This way, the marketer operates blindly on assumptions and faith.
Online markets offer an advanced targeting: Most online platform like Google, Facebook, and Instagram offer targeted advertising where one defines the targeted audience then the sites ensure that the message gets to those people and not the wrong ones. Unfortunately, this is not the case with offline marketing. Once you print a banner or put an advert on a magazine, you do not have control over who sees it and who does not. This way, it may never reach the right audience, so your business remains unknown for long.
Online markets target a broad population: Online platforms target global markets, unlike offline markets which target people within a given location. Many people across the globe use the internet, so when one explores internet marketing strategies; they reach people from different parts of the world. Provided someone has access to the internet, they can view your products. However, offline markets target people within a specified location and area.
Online markets are cost-effective unlike offline ones: This point is subject to debate, although a vast majority will agree that online markets are profitable. The initial capital required might be higher for offline markets than online ones. For instance, in online markets, you do not need to rent a physical space, which would be an extra cost. You also do not need to employ many people like it’s the case with offline markets. This way, you save more with an online platform. However, this is not always the case since it depends on the size of the business you are running. In a jiffy, this point only stands its ground when all factors are held at a constant.
This is a rather tricky question, and giving a specific answer would be misleading. That is because there are people who use online markets and s are still making it while others are using offline marketing and even making it. However, it is holding all other factors constant; an online market scoops the title of the best approach among the two options. However, this depends on several factors like the size of the business, the amount invested, and the promoting platforms used.
Both online and offline markets have their benefits and drawbacks. However, technological advancement is slowly sifting out the most offline market strategies. Online markets are more recommendable and offer better results compared to offline markets. However, the amount you earn from either of the two approaches depends on the factors highlighted in various areas above. Whichever method you decide to choose between the two options, there will be benefits and shortcomings, so it is all about how you handle them.
The goal of any business, whether small or big is to maximize revenue generation. This is turn lead to more profitability and increases the chances of a business’s sustainability and survival. Over the years, the trends have been changing. Previously, traditional or conventional methods were king. Nowadays, we are seeing a shift toward online or internet strategies. Some people are still stuck to the offline tactics while some are opting for the more modern online methods.
If you run or manage a business, it is necessary to know and understand the model it is based on. This will help you understand the market and come up with the most feasible tactics. In this article, we will look at the similarity between online and offline markets as well as their differences.
According to Marketing-schools.Org, offline market is the traditional market. It entails strategies such as mass and broadcast media and comprises of physical or tangible materials. You get papers (newspapers, magazines, banners, flyers…), or a radio/ tuner, television set. Other examples include banners, flyers, posters, billboards, and stickers. A firm will place adverts, coupons, and promotional codes in newspapers, magazines, or promote a business via flyers and banners. It does not in any way entail the use of the internet.
The online market is the latest trend. It is a relatively new model, and this is attributed to the growth of the internet. According to Beth Hendricks, it can be described as an electronic or internet market. The website is the main platform that allows buyers and sellers to interact. It does not involve physical media, and everything is virtual. Well-known markets are social media, email, multilevel marketing (MLM), and the likes. By using the internet, businesses are able to run a promotion campaign, advertise, create web content, email campaigns, use web conferences(webinars), video advertising, and many more. Some of the well-known online markets include Amazon, eBay, Alibaba, and Etsy.
The online and offline market might be different. One purely relies on the internet while the other does not. Nevertheless, the two markets do have many similarities, which include the following:
Both markets target the same clients. You will find an internet business competing with another online business and at the same time competing with an offline store. A customer will at one instant purchase a product from a physical or brick-and-mortar store, while in the next minute he/she will be ordering the product online. An individual will see a sale or banner advertisement as he/she is driving along and then decide to pop into a retail outlet.
Later on, the same consumer may be busy surfing the internet or working online, and then a popup ad appears and will influence or entice e him/her to make a purchase. To take advantage of the ever-changing needs, smart business invests in both markets.
Whether running a physical store or online outlet, one certain thing is that both business ventures will want to make a profit. The desire is to attract as many customers as possible, increase sales, and push for the product to be more popular. The operator will want to see the market penetration increase at a faster rate, see an increase in sales revenues, and receive more inquiries as well as converting inquiries into hard sales.
The traditional market relies on newspaper and magazine adverts, radio and TV adverts, and physics coupons. The electronic market will use email listings, popup ads, MLM, social media, content marketing, and others. In the end, it is all about making a profit. According to Lisa McQuerrey, both physical and internet businesses need to promote a business to spur growth or remain sustainable.
The competitors will be the same, whether it is an offline or online market. This is because of sharing the same marketplace. For instance, if selling shoes, you will be targeting a person who walks into your store as well as that one who prefers the product to be delivered to the home or office. The marketing tactics will be the same, only that they will be customized to suit the platform.
A good example is placing coupons in a magazine or newspapers and at the same time using coupon codes on the business website. You will print fliers and banners, still invest in socials media, and email listing. Your competition will still employ the same strategies. It pays to monitor the strategies to see where you stand. Is it working or not?
The market will keep changing regardless of whether you are a brick-and-mortar or online store. This may be influenced by emerging trends, discoveries, changing government legislation, or a change in consumer preference. The service or product will be the same only the market or platform will be different. The shoe, dress, electronic item, the furniture will be the same. However, if consumers suddenly prefer a particular brand over another, all the sellers, whether online or offline will be affected.
Both business models need to undertake research. They need to understand their target market, potential growth, future prospects, changing needs and trends, and create a loyal customer base. With proper understanding and information, they will be able to plan on how to deal with underlying issues, take market share from their rivals, and ensure their customers are fully satisfied.
A physical store will use hardcopy questionnaires while the web-based store will use soft copies. Both will undertake surveys, contact their customers, and gather as much information regarding consumer habits and individual information.
The following are some of the notable differences between the two markets:
The offline market does not depend on the internet, while the online market cannot exist without it. The former platform is based on conventional methods, as stated in the definition. These include print media, broadcast media, banners, posters, banners, public transport, signage, and more. The medium is tangible and you can touch it. In the web-based model, you cannot touch emails, SMS, text, popup ads because it exists in a virtual world.
The traditional market is more confined to a specific location. The newspaper or magazines will be distributed within a certain location. The television and radio broadcast will be confined in a specific zone. You also can distribute the banners, posters, flyers to a certain extent while a billboard is visible within a specific range.
When it comes to the web-based market, there is no limitation to the area of coverage. A person in the US will be able to see a product or service just as an individual based in the Middle East, Europe, or the Far East. The internet is a global village and covers all regions.
Technology seems to go hand in hand with the online market. A small change will trigger the entire market. For instance, if a particular product is launched, the entire internet will be abuzz. People from different parts will start to make inquiries and placing orders.
With the brick-and-mortar store, the awareness is much slower and gradual. It takes time for the vendor to publish the information or place an ad. The printer will also take some time to print the media and then distribute it. The information about a product that has just been launched may reach some regions after days if not weeks.
It is a little hard to segregate the offline model. A billboard or banner will be seen by anyone who is passing by the road it is placed or works/ lives near the area it has been mounted. When you are giving out flyers or posters, you generally hand them out to the public without discrimination.
However, with the online market, you can be more specific. For instance, you will only target people on your email listing, social media groups, or in a certain location. You can also create content while focusing on specific keywords. This means that only people who are searching for the keywords and related terminologies will come across the products or service.
Measuring the performance of strategies such as marketing can be a little hard with conventional methods. Yes, you may have handed out flyers and posters. However, can you tell how many people actually read the content? Yes, you did place a billboard at a strategic location. However, can you ascertain the number of people who read it and made an inquiry? The answer to these questions is No.
With online markets, you have tools such as AdWords and Google Analytics, which gather the information and analyze it. By looking at the statistics, you can tell the rate of conversion, website ranking, and return on investment (ROI) and much more. With the information, it becomes easier to strengthen or change a strategy.
In the above article, we have shed more insights on offline and online markets. We began by briefly talking about the role of the market in modern society, defining what an offline and online market is, and then mentioned the similarities and differences of the two platforms. From the read, we can conclude that both platforms play a vital role in modern businesses. According to Richard Kestenbaum, while the online market seems to experience more significant growth in comparison to the traditional one, the latter still plays a vital role. This is why businesses that started many decades ago are investing in both markets. Nonetheless, the internet or web-based option enjoy a higher market share and is forecast to experience higher growth than the traditional model.
There exist crystal clear differences between online and offline markets in our country. Although there’s this notion that online markets are more profitable than their offline counterparts, that notion might be misleading if not carefully addressed. There are several factors which determine how successful and profitable each of the two approaches gets.
For instances, a sizeable offline market might yield high returns than a small online market; the vice versa is also true. Although most businesses are adopting an online market approach, we still have several business entities using offline strategies. There are other businesses which employ a hybrid of the two aspects (online and offline markets). Although a combination might not work for everyone, it’s generally the most appropriate approach since it combines some elements of an online market with the profitable features of an offline market. However, combining the two might be costly for our local markets.
This might be the reason why most people choose one approach and stick to it to the end. So, what is an online and offline market in our local market? What are some of the challenges for the two markets? Lastly, what are the similarities and differences between the two aspects? These are some of the questions we shall be answering in the next section.
Online market (local): While the name holds a standard international meaning, there are various factors which affect its definition in our local market. This doesn’t mean it doesn’t still have the aspects of the internationally-accepted description, but it only adopts some local features and drops others which might not fit in the country. In a jiffy, an online market in the country is a market where businesses and other users employ the use of the internet to make sales. Product promotion is mainly done through the internet, and there’s minimal interaction between the sellers and the buyers. Unlike a worldwide or global setup, a local online market might have more communication and meetings between the buyers and the sellers. This is because of the close geographical location where buyers can contact the sellers online and arrange for a meeting before they buy the products. Perhaps this is one of the significant differences between a local online market and a global online market. Local online markets advertise through the internet, although the extent varies and is sometimes limited to the area within the country’s border. However, we have some local businesses which target international clients, so they expand their target areas to a wide margin.
Offline market (local): Offline markets in the country involve more interactions between the sellers and the buyers. The markets are affected by several local factors like political stability, the climate, different economic variations, and the overall purchase power of the local markets. This might not be the case with worldwide offline markets since some people target buyers who are outside the country, so they aren’t affected by different factors within our country. In a jiffy, offline markets in the country employ the use of offline advertisements and promotion aspects like banners, journals, print media, and direct advertising.
Both make profits and losses: While the profits and losses made from each of these two approaches depend on various factors, we all have to agree that losses and profits are incurred in both aspects. Profits and losses made in the local offline markets depend on factors like political stability/instability, economic status, the population, and the product promotion platforms explored. On the other hand, profits made by local online markets depend on factors like government policies regarding the internet, the cost of internet subscriptions and the number of people who can access the internet in the country. Despite the different factors, both the online and offline markets make profits and also incur losses.
They are employed by small and large entities: The belief that only large entities explore online markets is a misguided one. We have large businesses using offline markets and also small companies exploring online markets. So, it all depends on the objectives and the aim of each business. In fact, we are having more and more small business owners getting into the online market and establishing an online presence through websites. Those large businesses targeting the local market may not need an online presence, although having one would be an added advantage.
The two require product promotion: Whether you decide to go for the online or the offline markets, product promotion is a must if you want to get better sales. The two aspects have different product promotion methods, but the bottom-line remains that sales are increased by promotion. For instance, those using online markets may choose to use platforms like internet marketing, email marketing, or use of websites to promote their products and increase sales. On the other hand, offline markets use offline platforms like print media, banners, magazines, and posters to create awareness about the existence of a particular product. In a nutshell, promoting your products is paramount for both markets.
They require branding: Branding is what distinguishes one’s products from those of other sellers. For both the online and offline markets, one needs to brand their products. Although it might be costly for offline markets since it has to be done manually, branding increases sales and builds a name for a specific business. So, whether you are using an online or an offline market approach, branding might be an excellent way to create a presence and distinguish your products from those of other sellers. Unfortunately, online markets have a higher risk of fraud and people trying to copy your brands, but that shouldn’t be much of an issue for established businesses.
You require capital for both: All businesses need initial capital. Whether you are using an online or offline market, initial capital is a critical requirement. The capital varies depending on several factors like the size of your business, the size of the market you wish to explore as well as the cost of the products you want to sell. In offline markets, one may require more capital since they need physical premises and employees, which might not be the case with online markets.
Online markets target a wider geographical area: Unlike offline markets which target specific people living within a particular geographic area, online markets target a broad population and may even go beyond the country’s border. In fact, the number of people accessing the internet might be equivalent to the actual market targeted by an online market. However, that is not to mean that anyone accessing the internet is a prospective buyer. This is similar to an offline market where many people are aware of the business but might not require the items being sold or may not have the purchasing power to buy them. Either way, online markets target a broad area.
Gauging the performance of an online market is easier than the offline market: There are tools for estimating the number of people who visit your online platform, how much time they spend there, what they bought and what they showed interest in. However, this might not be the case for offline markets since it would require a lot of manual calculations to get the data, and it still wouldn’t be accurate. Things like Google Analytics and AdWords offer an overview of the overall performance of your online business.
The online market offers a more targeted approach: With applications like Google, Facebook, and Instagram, one can specify their target audience so that their products are shown to the right and prospective buyers. This isn’t the case with offline markets. For instance, when one puts an advert on a magazine, the magazine might not be bought or read by the targeted audience, so it ends up offering zero conversion. However, using a Facebook ad allows one to specify who they wish to see the advert, thus providing a better conversion.
Which of the two is more profitable?
Online and offline markets make profits. However, online markets are replacing the traditional offline markets for various reasons; one of them being the fact that offline markets don’t offer an ideal platform for business to reach a broad base. Therefore, online markets are generally more profitable, although a business may choose to explore a hybrid of the two aspects and reap better returns.
Offline markets are slowly losing popularity in the country. More people and businesses and people are opting for online markets because of the many benefits they offer. However, offline markets also offer some advantages and can’t be wished away just yet. So, whichever of the two approaches you decide to pick, ensure you put efforts to increase profits and minimize losses. The business world is rapidly evolving, and so should your marketing strategies. In a nutshell, one needs to pick the approach which best works for their business. If you target a localized population, an offline market would be perfect. However, for a broad population, you might have to use an online platform.