One might think that running a business online and offline will be similar, it will just differ based on how you access your customers and your information, but there is a lot more to it than that.
In an online business it can be hard to build customer loyalty. You have at your fingertips email, and forums of various types, if you are lucky you also have the ability to call your clients, but not all online business have this. If you have an offline business you can see people face to face, talk with them, visit their office and see who they are, shaping your sales pitch to their wants and needs. It is easier to build loyalty with an offline business for this reason. People are more likely to trust you and want to buy from you if they get to meet you in person. There are still ways to build loyalty as an online company, many of which focus on communication, but they can include blogs, supreme customer service, video, forums and social networking.
There are also other tradeoffs as well. In an online business you usually get people who know exactly what they want and need minimal help. They come to the online store because they know they can get that product there. Because of this you put money into targeting people and audiences and have to spend less money talking to every person who comes in. In an offline business you do get walk in traffic . Often times people who don’t know what they want, or that they want anything at all. The bonus here is that if your product is good enough, many of them will want it even though they didn’t know they wanted it. It can be a little harder to get people into the store, you need to have a great location and you need to have a great product, but you are more likely to get sales from people who don’t know what you have, or what they want.
On either side there are trade offs, which means that the best business will use a little from both models and combine them.