According to the Global Omnichannel Retail Index for 2017, digitization has increased by 27% in just the last two years. Does that mean that brick and mortar stores are on their way out? Not if you analyze the results of the PWC Customer Insights Survey 2018.
According to the survey, there has been an increase in shoppers going to a physical store weekly of around 8% since 2014. That’s quite significant especially when you consider the proliferation of social commerce strategies allowing clients to buy directly from the comfort of their social media pages.
But why are shoppers increasingly choosing the brick and mortar experience? Why are they choosing crowded malls when they could get most items at the click of a button online? Again, the PWC Survey provides a valuable insight for marketers.
It seems that 88% of respondents were willing to pay for delivery if it was faster or on the same day. Therefore, it makes sense that people would choose to go to an outlet and get their goods immediately, rather than wait for them. They are even less price sensitive on this issue.
The key then would be to find a solution that allows clients to shop online and speed up delivery. Amazon’s drone program is one way in which this could be handled. Depending on where you are, the drones could deliver your order in less than half an hour – that’s less time than a pizza delivery would normally take.
If the company budget does not quite stretch to drone delivery, a click-and-collect system might be a viable alternative. These days you can easily make a product comparison online at a website like shopping.fm, and then pick up the selected item within a couple of days at the local store.
It is a useful solution – shipping costs are reduced because the company can either source the item locally or ship it using its internal network. The clients can access the product range that they want to and be able to collect goods when it is convenient for them. (So no more playing tag with the delivery guys.)
The added bonus, from the company’s perspective, is that you are still getting the client into the store. Who knows what other impulse purchases they may make?
So, it would seem that the answer going forward would be to get your e-commerce platform and brick-and-mortar stores working together seamlessly. It gives people the convenience of shopping online with the instant gratification of purchasing in-store.
And the stores themselves could also make use of the e-commerce platform in need. Say, for example, that you are a fashion retailer. Someone comes in and sees a T-shirt she likes, but she cannot find the proper size.
The sales staff could check your e-commerce store and see if the item can be ordered there. It’s a simple step that could be useful when it comes to saving the sale. After all, if it is something that the client really liked, they would probably go home and do the same thing anyway.
By being proactive, the store improves the client’s experience and does not have to turn the client away.
Naturally, for the system to work well in any company, the process would need to work smoothly, or you risk annoying your client. I can speak to this from personal experience.
I used the click-and-collect service of a large retailer. Everything went smoothly until it
was time to collect my order. The collection process involved them scanning the number and entering a pin I had been sent.
The scanner wouldn’t work, and this was most frustrating as it took about 20 minutes to collect the item. I won’t use that service again. Had it taken the five minutes or so I had expected, I would have been happy to go back.
The moral of the story? Get your e-commerce process done flawlessly before you start to offer this kind of service.