Step away from the Bulldozer.
Turn off the engine and step away from the bulldozer. Don’t tear down your brick-and-mortar location just yet…
It’s been obvious for a while now that the boundaries between the offline and online worlds are extremely blurred. Perhaps the easiest way to feel the online world interwoven with the offline one is to take a glance at today’s retail landscape. It’s nearly impossible to find a real world store that does not incorporate online.
The internet, the newest of media, has successfully redefined every medium.
Yet with all of the spending power that the internet holds, today there remains an even stronger reason to keep physical store locations.
Stay with me.
The September briefing of Trendwatching.com tells the story of a “Retail Renaissance”. Here, we are reminded that:
1. People like to shop at a brick-and-mortar location because it provides them with a tangible experience. Lots of people enjoy shopping as an activity. And instant gratification is the best pay-off for shoppers. Taking this away from the consumer deprives them of the opportunity to touch the product before owning it.
2. People prefer researching online, but shop more often offline. (According to the briefing, 8 out of 10 consumers research purchases online. While 42% research online and then buy online, 51% still research online and then buy in-store.)
3. Consumers who receive information via multiple channels prior to purchase spend almost double (+82%) compared to those who only shop in-store.
We as retailers don’t have the luxury of choosing the channel that most easily suits our current situation. We must meet consumers where they are active (or would want to be active) and in multiple channels if the opportunity exists.
Recently several online-only retailers have emerged as leaders of the retail world. And many retailers are tempted to just mimic their models. But they have filled a niche, so don’t be so quick to change your own business model. Remember that your consumers still like seeing you in person once in a while. Find a way to capitalize on the offline world to meet both your needs and theirs.
*I recommend reading the full report within the Trendwatching.com site for further examples, research and statistics.*