In the modern e-commerce world, so many people are taking their business from traditional physical locations to doing their business via online or virtual. There are benefits to having a physical location over a virtual one and also benefits to virtual over a physical office. When it comes to starting a business you need to consider so many different things; do you need to have product on hand, how many employees do you need, or do you need any at all, and do you need a physical office?
When you have just started a business, you may not have the capital to pay multiple employees, pay for advertisement, plus have a physical office. Virtual offices like ViewPointe’s Las Vegas virtual office allow business owners to have a business mailing address, live receptionist services, and meeting room access at a price point that is affordable.
Virtual offices allow for businesses to function from almost anywhere in the world, at least as long as the internet is good there. Virtual offices also allow for the employees to work remotely and have the flexibility to have their work life exist with their home life instead of the other way around.
Pros to virtual office
- More cost efficient (no cost of a property to lease and run a business through)
- More flexible
- No commute
- Low startup cost
Cons to virtual office
- No physical location
- Technology issues
- Lack of social contact (meaning you may not interact with your clients as much on a personal level)
Brick and Mortar Office
Brick and mortar or traditional physical offices are still beneficial when it comes to some businesses. Having a physical office allows for business meetings to happen in the office. A physical office can make customers feel you are more trustworthy because they feel that they can show up at your office if they need something. If you have a business where your customers have to interact with whatever you are selling, you may need to have a physical office.
When someone works in a physical office they do get the opportunity to work physically with others. Physically working with others allows for relationships to be made among the employees that can be difficult in virtual offices.
Pros to brick and mortar office
- Physical location=customer trust
- Built in place to meet with clients
Cons to brick and mortar office
- The location can turn people off
- Might not be necessary
- Surging costs
- Office/people problems
Virtual or Physical Retail
When it comes to retail stores, the jury is still out on what the public prefers between online vs physical stores. According to an Entrepreneur.com article from 2017, “offline sales are 10 times bigger than online sales in the U.S. But online shopping is growing at a significant rate.” This shows that the consumer public wants certain products that they can interact with to purchase, and other things that they can hear or read about online and purchase in that way.
Every category in the business world has virtual or online-only businesses. A lot of businesses are finding it easier to go to online-only platforms because it is less expensive and it is easier to get the business up and running. Places like BlockBuster were run out of business as Netflix grew in popularity. Borders Bookstores are no longer in business, while Barnes and Noble struggle to keep their brick and mortar stores as Amazon has dominated the business of selling books and now e-books. Of course, certain brick and mortar businesses will probably always be around, like grocery stores and any business that you physically have to get things done, like personal services. As businesses become more technically savvy and more apps are made, the consumer may be able to receive everything out of the luxury of their home.
How business is conducted is really up to the people who run and operate that business. Knowing your product or service and its benefit to the world or your community is always necessary. You have a good product or service and the clients or customers will seek you out. Brick and mortar vs. virtual office all comes down to where you think your money would be best spent. A physical office can give your client a sense of security with you that a virtual office may not. At the same time, a virtual office could allow your clients to ask for business after hours which could be a huge perk for your clientele.
People like to purchase things and do business when they want to. Being able to do business online affords people the opportunity to shop and work on their schedule. Will virtual businesses take the place of all brick and mortar establishments? Maybe, but it definitely won’t happen for some time. For the time being, business can be conducted without the need for an office but with the knowledge that a real person is behind an email or a phone call. As long as business owners remember that their client base still needs a physical connection, then virtual businesses can work right alongside physical businesses.