With the onset of shopping online, the convenience and broad selection it offers, how do you think traditional bricks and mortar stores will cope? Well, if you are anyone who is in a business be it retailing or service, then you have to be online too. Without a web presence you’re conventional shopping clientele will forget you in an instant and they’ll spend their hard earned cash elsewhere. But how really has shopping evolve?
Then: People came into stores with little to no knowledge about the product they are interested in and relied on a salesperson to advise them on what to buy.
Now: Today’s shoppers do their own research: if you want to buy a handbag for example you will search on Google the best leather purses available, or what is the price of the last bag from Coach. This is how consumers nowadays behave, before they buy anything in order to get the best value out of every penny they spend.
Driving Traffic to the Store
Then: Finding the right store and the product you needed depends on familiarity, word of mouth or serendipity.
Now: Retailers nowadays are integrating technology into their brick-and-mortar stores, so when shoppers search for their store name or category, shoppers will see a phone number that they can easily click-to-call, a map with directions, and current special offers.
Then: Retailing before gets first-hand interactions with their shoppers, thus, they get to develop rapports and become familiar with their shopper’s needs and preferences.
Now: In this digitized world, when almost all retailers have a website, there are fewer personal interaction between retailers and customer since most shoppers come to the store already equipped with hours’ worth of research about the product they came to buy, so less assistance is called for. And because shoppers nowadays looks for product information, deals, local availability and local discounts online before they make a purchase, it also becomes easy for retailers to provide the right information about their product readily.
Then: Shopping has always been a favorite activity shared by friends and family and word of mouth was a compelling force that transformed new products into must-haves and small shops into retail empires.
Now: With the help of social networks, people are able to share their opinion about the products they have tried, not just with a group of friends, but with millions of people. Smart retailers recognize the opportunities that lie in being able to reach and zero out not to mention speak directly to individuals who love their products most.
Then: There is no substitute to being able to hold, feel and inspect a physical product on display in a brick and mortar store.
Now: However, interactive video, 360 views, gestural controls are just a few of the options that bring the products alive on customers’ multiple screens, closing the gap between an on-screen image and that experience of holding a product in a store. When retailers showcase products online in a unique way, like for example how an eyeglasses retailer invites their customers to mix and match frames against their photo, they create opportunities for customers to interact with products on an emotional level.