E-commerce enables new innovative retailers to a start a business with a relatively small initial capital. As it is easy for new businesses to emerge and new products to be offered with affordable prices, e-commerce can benefit the sellers, buyers and societies. Still, the advantages of traditional retailing exist and, luckily, the cost-related disadvantages might be diminished with the use of shipping containers.
The use of shipping containers in retail real estate can break most of the disadvantages related to traditional retailing. By default traditional retailing suffers from high fixed costs, long leases, expensive rates and inflexible terms to name but a few. Also, as setting up a store takes forever, the costs tend to add up. Even though shipping containers are not originally designed to be used as real estate, they still are the most optimal solution.
Shipping containers are designed to be shipped in extreme weather conditions in rough seas. Therefore they offer the best protection towards any weather, even against hurricanes. They are built of durable material and are sized according to international standards. Therefore they are also modular and stackable allowing retailers to compile a retail center according to her own taste in a very short time period. Even a shopping mall can be built in three to four months from scratch. Containers are also affordable, say, a used container may be sold by about US$1000.
E-commerce can not fight back traditional commerce in certain areas. Security issues are always on top when establishing an online store. Possible credit card frauds might scare the customers away which forces businesses to invest a lot of money to buy expensive information security services and develop a a secure payment infrastructure. Also it is very likely that an online retailer might suffer major goodwill losses as customers become disappointed when the received products do not match with the products viewed online.
Containers shops as a form of traditional commerce enable face-to-face communication with customers and thereby better possibilities to create mutual trust between sellers and buyers. It will also be possible for sellers to present more expensive alternatives and thereby collect bigger profits. Container shops are not also tied to a fixed location but can be relocated many times.
By default, container shops can not get to the same cost category with e-commerce. Nevertheless, in a long term even maintaining an online store raises its maintenance costs and online retailers will be forced to start reaching for the advantages gained only via traditional commerce. The good thing is that, one is not forced to choose only one option. One can have them both, and create a combined retail infrastructure that has all the advantages of both online and offline retailing.
The suggested hybrid solution can only be implemented with shipping containers. Shanghai Metal Corporation has a long experience in offering shipping containers for the use of housing, hotels and offices. To learn more about our container solutions and how to order, please view our website. Please also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. You can also download our new mobile application by scanning the QR code below.
Tuomas P. // SMC Editor
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