Current retail trends show that 51% of Americans prefer online shopping. With e-commerce growing at a steady 23% year-after-year and more retailers moving their businesses online than ever, many are left to wonder if brick and mortar retail will survive for long.
Online Shoppers Prioritize 24/7 Access
Of those who prefer online shopping, 58% say that having the ability to shop 24/7 is very important. This is especially true for shoppers whose schedules only permit late-night shopping after regular retail hours. Online shoppers also want the ability to compare and find the best price. In fact, 46% say they shop online because they can find better prices and more items on sale.
Other reasons shoppers prefer online transactions include:
- Saving time – 40%
- Convenience of staying home – 39%
- Greater variety of options – 29%
- Free shipping offers – 29%
In-Store Shoppers Want a Tactile Experience
49% of consumers still prefer hopping in the car and heading to the store when they need to buy something. 56% of people who prefer in-store shopping say that being able to see and touch an item is very important in their purchasing decision. Online markets, pictures and all, still don’t have a way to simulate the tactility and physicality of goods.
Similarly, an online store has no way of simulating clothing fit, which is why 55% of in-store shoppers enjoy being able to try on clothes. There’s also the instant gratification that is felt when shoppers are able to take home items right after purchase.
The Future Is Omnichannel Retail
Online stores can’t provide some of the benefits that brick and mortar can, and vice versa. Many businesses have responded to customer demand for these benefits by providing online and physical purchasing channels. In fact, 50% of retailers in the United States have instituted omnichannel retail experiences.
Nordstrom recently announced the opening of their first “experetail” store in Los Angeles. This store promises to give customers the tactile fitting experience by providing tryout services for products purchased online. They will also provide personal shoppers, a coffee bar, and a mani-pedi station.
This type of omnichannel shopping experience could very well be the future of shopping. The goal of brick and mortar storefronts is shifting from moving tons of merchandise to providing unique customer experiences for products.
According to Stephanie Phair, the chief strategy officer of Farfetch, millennials “really want that joined-up online and offline experience.” This fusion of online and offline consumer interaction will likely lead to interesting new innovations in the role of brick and mortar stores.
For small businesses looking to take their brick and mortar store online, now is the time to do it. Internet commerce is projected to keep rising at a steady pace of 14% next year, and is expected to continue increasing in coming years.