Consumers Want Best of Online & Offline Shopping

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Understanding the entire customer journey when purchasing products, with constantly changing consumer behaviour, is difficult yet necessary. 93% of consumers are shopping in more than one sales channel before buying, but why do customer start in one channel and end up in another? In this post we uncover the consumer actually wants the best of both online and offline shopping.

Why Consumers Prefer to Shop Brick and Mortar

Despite the digital shift, consumers remain loyal to brick and mortar for a variety of reasons. These include discovering new products (85%), trust the local store (68%) and the ability to return items locally (68%). Of course this also includes having someone local to service and/or support a purchased product and educate new consumers discovering new products at retail. Many branded manufacturers have an incredible asset in their retail network that its primary purpose is to serve as a showroom to obtain new customers seeking out products in the physical world. These stores are being under-utilized and can provide an increased convenience to consumers by blending online and offline operations if given the right tools.

Consumers Want the Convenience & Assortment of Online

The primary drivers for consumers to be able to shop online is the ability to buy on their own terms, more convenient than visiting a store, more assortment and the ability to buy products not typically available in-store. Ongoing changes in consumer preferences and behaviours at various moments of the shopping journey show that consumers want to manage the journey on the path to purchase themselves, as opposed to those prescribed by retailers or marketers. 66 percent of consumers cite the desire for a self-directed journey, up from 30 percent just two years ago limiting merchant involvement in the research and education phase.

Everyone Wins When Combining Sales Channels

Managing digital and retail as two separate channels is difficult and means no customer visibility, insights, and a lost sale if a consumer is sent to a retailer without the desired item in-stock or even worse… A competitor is in-stock. To close the gap between researching online and buying in a store branded manufacturers should consider a cross-channel clicks to bricks strategy to benefit everyone involved in the sale. Rewarding everyone within the organization for operating as a cohesive unit rather than competing has tremendous benefits to create better a better customer experience.

Consumers

More convenient options where consumers can buy online with the service of retail. This includes:

  • A pickup point without the worry of porch theft
  • The offline discovery of other products/accessories the consumer may require
  • Assembly/install of the product and/or white glove delivery to the consumers home
  • Free local in-store returns and exchanges at a dealer
  • The comfort of buying local with post-purchase support/service
  • Same day pickup when inventory is available
  • Don’t go to a store when the inventory

Retailers

  • Get new customers into their store where they buy more once there
  • Improve sales and lower customer acquisition costs
  • Turnover inventory & replenish
  • Maximize their in-store service staff hours
  • Obtain data and insights of what they should be stocking, buying, and selling

Brands

  • Boost conversions, average order values, and revenue
  • Determine marketing spend impact on channel performance
  • Prevent lost sales as consumers shop between online and physical sales channels
  • Boost dealer loyalty and wholesale business
  • Opportunity to create seamless customer purchase experience with offline discovery of brand/products in showroom environment
  • Influence wholesale buying decisions based on sales data that are sustainable/repeatable gains

A Bright Future for Clicks to Bricks

The Pulse of the Online Shopper Report by UPS found that consumers (49%) believe integrating in-store, online, and mobile shopping channels is the best way to improve the overall shopping and brand experience. These numbers indicate that neither online or brick and mortar retail is going anywhere but must co-exist and be combined to create the ultimate customer experience. We are in the age of the connected consumer where they are in the drivers seat expecting the best of buying online coupled with the benefits of buying offline too.

Those who provide the most seamless experience and make it easier for consumers to buy are going to succeed as retail is being won and lost on consumer experience. Branded manufacturers already embracing the native capabilities of their retail partners with integrated platforms are already scaling and winning.

Are you interested in becoming an omni-channel brand and open up new possibilities for your wholesale business and end consumers? If so, contact us and let’s start a conversation!

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Consumers Want Best of Online & Offline Shopping

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