The growth in e-commerce does not mean the death of bricks and mortar retail. While it is certainly true that e-commerce is growing quickly, bricks and mortar sales still account for most total retail revenue. Data from the U.S. Department of Commerce shows that in-store retail sales were more than 11Xs greater than e-commerce sales ($4,459 billion vs. $389 billion) in 2016.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that bricks and mortar retailers can ignore the impact of e-commerce on the way consumers shop. In-store and online shopping habits have become increasingly intertwined and are particularly impacted by mobile devices and their influence on our lives. Today’s consumers use their phones to research potential purchases, often in micro-moments, such as while standing in line or sitting in a waiting room. However, the ease of research does not necessarily lead to more on-line sales. Retailers report that 82% of customers conduct research online, but more than 90% of all retail sales are made in a physical store.
This is good news for bricks and mortar retailers, if they can create a seamless omnichannel experience for their customers.
Recognize that consumers do online research, even while in the store. Shoppers will be trying to find what they see online. If merchandise is shown in a way that duplicates what is seen online items can be easily recognized.
If your website provides size, product features, or benefits, your displays also need to share that same information. This will give the shopper confidence that the item found in store is the same one that was selected online.
Interactive kiosks can facilitate multimedia immersive experiences, help shoppers find items in other locations, or improve wayfinding at large retailers. When these in-store kiosks are well designed and match your branding perfectly, they can become a seamless facilitator of an enhanced customer experience.
Bricks and mortar retailing is far from dead. However, it is important that retailers recognize that technology will become an increasingly important part of the in-store experience. Retailers that embrace opportunities to integrate shoppers’ new habits will become the success stories of the future.