Online vs. in person sales… insight from a local entrepreneur

(By: Rissa P.)

The benefits of in person and online sales are a long debated topic. Is there an advantage to a specific method of sales? What are the costs and risks? In this post I’m going to compare the two with the help of a local business owner, Jo Robitaille. 

Jo was a stay at home mom for 8 years prior to the launch of her business, 2ndroundequestrian. Her motivation for starting her business came from her desire to be her own boss, while still being able to interact and have a relationship with her clientele. Her business sells both used and brand new equestrian products, allowing her to tap into a niche market from both ends of the scale. She has both a pop up trailer and a store at the World Equestrian Center in Wilmington, Ohio.

Overall, Jo says she is much more successful in her in person sales. “I believe it’s simply because people can see, touch, try on the merchandise.” In person sales don’t come without their downsides, however. “It’s a double edged sword because then you have much more overhead.” From her perspective, in person sales are worth the financial risk due to her unique ability to connect with customers on a personal level, and give them an unmatched customer service. 

That’s not to entirely knock online sales though. Online advertising and social media can really start the process of in person interactions by getting your name out there, something Jo struggled with in the beginning. Additionally, an online store is much cheaper than a brick and mortar store.  There can be a learning curve in website management for those who aren’t dedicated computer professionals. “It was hard to find a website that was easy “ish” to build myself, with low costs, but then also handles in person sales, inventory control, etc.”

Jo says her clientele comes from both in person and online interactions. “Word of mouth after a person makes a purchase online or in person is always the best marketing!” This has been an overwhelmingly successful strategy for Jo due to the local and small business aspect of her brand. Her biggest piece of advice was that you need to utilize all the tools at your disposal. Its a combination of them all! 

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