Internet Vs. Brick and Mortar Stores
I see comparisons to both venues often. While I truly miss some of the old-time magic shops, the reality has become on-line merchants. To exist as a brick and mortar shop you have to have an internet presence, and/or be in a heavy traffic area. Hollywood Magic and Houdini’s are two of the most successful businesses that flourish in high-traffic areas. Hank Lee is the only magic merchant from yesteryear that has survived the internet. He does both venues rather well. Hank is one of the true old-timers that understand the value of the internet.
If the physical storefront owner is not located in a high-traffic area and does not do ecommerce, he is set up for failure.
Years ago, the vast majority of magic shops relied on the Halloween business to support the magic shop. With the birth of Halloween discounters like Party City, the Halloween business in magic shops came to a screeching halt.
One myth constantly circulated is that an on-line business has no overhead. If the virtual business is done properly, overhead runs considerably more money than brick and mortar.
It takes quite a bit of capitol to run a successful ecommerce business. You pay dearly for technology. While there are many free solutions such as OSCommerce on the market, they simply cannot do what a custom solution will do. Unless you happen to be a programmer, or pay for customizing the scripts, an out of the package solution just won’t cut it. You also pay dearly for dedicated servers, 24/7 support, and bandwidth.
No matter how well-crafted your technology and design are, you need to advertise to get visitors to your web site. A full page color ad runs $650-$750 per month for just one industry trade publication. A small ad placed in an on-line magic portal can cost a minimum of $100.00 per month and go up to several hundred dollars per month. 10% commissions to key affiliates add up very quickly. I won’t even go into search engine ranking, placement or key phrase searches. Making certain you are stocked and carry the newest effects that are worth carrying, all adds up to big bucks.
BTW…we do keep a studio that is open by appointment only (www.thetrickery.com/studio)!