High Street v Online: Which is Best For Your New Business?


There are hundreds of high street stores that are increasing their online presence. When you are thinking about opening a new store you might be thinking about having a purely online presence. After all, isn’t the future digital?

Not necessarily. High street stores that are moving online already have credibility. When you are thinking about buying an expensive item, will your potential customers really want to do it online or are they going to go to the high street?


There is a strong argument that having a physical location is better for your business because it means that people trust it. They know that it is a real location and that they can take products back and not be scammed. Even the most trustworthy person can look suspicious online. Many major retailers that started online have opened up physical locations in recent years.

Yet there is also a counter argument to this. All of the overheads that you have when operating a brick and mortar operation. You have to pay utility bills, comply with local licensing laws and, most significantly, employ lots more staff.

One of the biggest problems with high street stores is the limited hours of operations. You can’t be open forever. The biggest advantage of an online store is the fact that you can be open all year round without any increase in costs. Computers don’t complain if they are on all of the time.

Young businessman presenting his idea at meeting. Teamwork at office.

If your business focuses on impulse purchases, online will be best. You are more likely to make these online at home than you are on the high street. When deciding what is best for your business, it is about weighing the positives and negatives of each platform and highlighting what your business does best and go to that platform.

The trajectory of your business is important too. The best part of online is how your business can grow rapidly with very little investment from you. Online, the world is your oyster. On the high street, you’re stuck with how many people happen to be walking past that day.

The bottom line is this: when you own a high street store you have a presence and an instant credibility that online stores do not have. The downside is, though, you have huge overheads and liabilities you don’t have when you’re operating purely online. Do you really want to have to pay all these bills when you’re just opening your first business, or could you grow your business online and keep our overheads low?

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