Appealing to Modern Shoppers Requires Omni-Channel Approach

E-commerce has dramatically changed the ways in which people buy products, and this, in turn, is causing a noticeable shift in brick-and-mortar stores. Many retailers are turning their shops into destinations in their own right in response to consumers’ growing preference for shopping online.

For example, FAO Schwarz closed their famous Fifth Avenue store last summer, but they are not closing up shop altogether in favor of online shopping. The store’s owner, Toys ‘R Us, is also looking for a new location for its flagship Times Square store, which boasts an indoor Ferris wheel. Of course, they are still making plenty of sales on their websites while they find cheaper real estate. When they do reopen, the Ferris wheel will still be there, and the stores will also be highly interactive as they shift toward the growing trend of “destination retail.”

There are plenty of examples of in-store shopping experiences that get people into stores despite having the ability to buy the same products online. IKEA’s winding interior showrooms, the indoor mountains at Cabela’s, and the Mall of America are all attracting shoppers with their approaches.

Bridging the Gap

According to the 2015 Pulse of the Online Shopper report from UPS, 42 percent of people search for products and buy them online, while just 22 percent prefer shopping in-store. Just over 36 percent of consumers cross channels when shopping, and this percentage is expected to grow. Online stores and their brick-and-mortar versions need to support one another and work together for the brand to be successful.

Retailers like Walmart are taking advantage of their physical locations to bring themselves closer to customers, which is one area where Amazon is falling behind. Physical store backrooms are becoming distribution centers of sorts, moving products both in and out. It all remains a bit of a balancing act, however, because shoppers in retail locations are more likely to spend more than they planned. The UPS report shows that 45 percent of shoppers buy additional products when using in-store pickup for orders placed online, and 38 percent of shoppers say they will choose in-store pickup in order to qualify for free shipping.

The modern customer expects to be given plenty of options both online and in-store, and the retailers that find a way to meet this need will be the most profitable.

This blog post was based off an article from Inbound Logistics. View the original here.