Although some believe e-commerce will kill traditional retail, consumers want both online and in-person experiences.
Retailers that shifted away from physical stores during the pandemic saw customers return. As technology develops, physical stores have become a way of expanding an online offering by providing services like “buy now, pay later”.
Retailers that make it easy and convenient for shoppers to obtain what they want can compete more successfully against e-commerce shops. For instance, digital-native stores offering free shipping may attract consumers who might otherwise have chosen another store as their online purchase destination.
Even as consumers grew more familiar with online shopping during the COVID-19 pandemic, they’re not ready to forsake physical stores entirely. Instead, successful retail brands will strike a balance between brick-and-mortar locations and online sales channels.
Consumers preferring in-person experiences that enable them to touch, feel and take home products immediately can keep brick-and-mortar retailers competitive. At the same time, advanced analytics and omnichannel capabilities can turn in-store associates into powerful sales tools by giving them insights into each shopper’s past purchases, current product selection and other factors – this enables them to provide relevant and personalized customer support – making every customer interaction count!
2. Product Selection
Online stores provide shoppers with an advantage when it comes to inventory browsing; consumers can easily compare products in terms of size, color and price compared to shopping in brick-and-mortar stores.
Today’s retail industry is going through an unprecedented period of rapid consolidation, driven by mergers and acquisitions. Recently, a major US grocer announced it was purchasing one of their rivals to increase scale while cutting costs through economies of scale.
Direct-to-consumer brands are increasingly teaming up with physical retailers to stock their consumer packaged goods in stores, like Austin-based Neighborhood Goods who offers goods both physically and online. This approach saves considerable time reconciling customer data across channels and allows for more targeted offers – ultimately fuelling growth of businesses that provide both e-commerce and offline experiences simultaneously.
3. Social Interaction
retailers hoping to survive and thrive in a future that blends both physical and online shopping must embrace new technologies and strategies, including personalization, novel tech solutions and creative customer engagement campaigns. At times of economic hardship, such initiatives may prove essential.
Keep an eye out for an increase in experiential retailing experiences such as pop-up shops and interactive store displays in stores, as well as more innovative technology that simplifies customer journeys by eliminating cash and credit card transaction pain points – such as Tap-to-pay/contactless payment systems as well as digital signage which streamline checkout processes.
Physical stores will always provide consumers with an opportunity to ask knowledgeable store associates questions, but that may not be their sole method for finding answers. According to research, an increasing number of shoppers are also turning to social media or other sources for expert advice or expert opinion – providing further avenues through which individuals can find products and information tailored specifically to them. The future of retail will provide new avenues that help meet consumer needs more effectively than ever.
Customers visit physical retailers with the expectation of receiving experiences they cannot get online – this is how brick-and-mortar retailers stay relevant in today’s modern economy.
Specialty stores with an in-depth focus are less susceptible to online competition, while department and big box stores may lose business to their online rivals. But they can remain competitive by providing tailored customer support based on individual customers’ specific needs and preferences.
Technology can be an invaluable asset when it comes to helping customers locate what they’re searching for and making their shopping experience simpler and more pleasurable. Tap-to-pay technology enables stores to eliminate payment terminals and free up space for innovative experiences valued by customers. Retailers can even gain by subtracting capabilities that once existed exclusively online such as buy now/pay later financing and mobile checkout – providing valuable customer experiences!