Brick-and-Mortar’s Future Lies in Extending the Online Shopping Experience - Jacopo D’Alessandris

“For anyone with a finger on the pulse of the retail industry, they will have noticed that long ago we have entered the age of e-commerce, and it is clear that it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.” It’s funny to think that in the past, we used to view online shopping as an extension of physical retail stores; but now, we are questioning how brick-and-mortar retail stores can be a valuable extension of the online shopping experience. Especially with the restrictions from the pandemic, the growth of online shopping has accelerated significantly. Due to this rapid growth of e-commerce, many are predicting that physical brick-and-mortar stores will soon die out. This viewpoint, however, is premature and inaccurate; the reality is that retailer executives are faced with a new challenge on how to modernize the operations of their physical stores to bridge the gap between online and physical shopping.

In order to save physical stores, retailer executives need to create new value for the customer experience of in-person shopping. I recently read an article published by CSA, Brick-and-Mortar’s Future Lies in Extending the Online Shopping Experience which highlights two ways to drive transformation in the retail industry.

Extending the Online Experience Into Your Stores

A popular and successful method of extending the online experience into physical stores is providing customers with the option to “click and collect.” This creates a convenient shopping experience for customers as there is no additional cost or wait time associated with delivery and shipping. It also ensures customers that their order will be safely and correctly delivered in their hands. This strategy not only benefits customers but also retailers — transportation costs are reduced and their environmental impact is improved. “Research has shown that nearly 50% of consumers who come into a store to collect an item will make an additional unplanned purchase while there, which creates a great sales opportunity for retailers.”

Providing a Unique In-Store Experience

Finding a way to leverage all of the online data and using it to create a unique in-person experience, is where the true Omnichannel difference can be made. Retail executives should not focus on how they can top the convenience of online shopping; rather they should focus on providing in-store experiences that cannot be replicated online. Leverage the existing customer data you have to develop innovative shopping experiences that your target audience will desire. Providing your audience with special, personalized experiences will help convert them into loyal customers. In addition, it will generate positive media buzz to help spread awareness about the fun, exciting atmosphere of your physical store. This option is where I expect to see great breakthrough innovations that will distinguish successful companies from struggling companies.

You can read the original article here.

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