Real Retail Shopping Experiences Aren’t Dead – Yet…

8970947 - illuminated light bulb in a row of dim ones concept for creativity, innovation and solutionby Justin Grensing, Esq., MBA

When we hear news stories about a local brick-and-mortar business closing its doors after being in operation for generations, the presumed culprit is often the growth of online retail, which grew by 16 percent between 2016 and 2017. People just don’t want to go to a store to make purchases anymore, the logic goes. Online shopping offers far more choices than can be offered in a physical location — which can’t store infinite inventory — and it’s so much more convenient to shop online instead of going to a store.

But don’t make the mistake of writing off in-store shopping. You may be surprised to learn that consumers still predominantly favor the in-store experience!

Business Wire reported on a recent study that found 65 percent of Americans prefer shopping at physical stores to see and touch a product before shopping. This is known as the “tactile” experience: the ability to pick up and hold something or feel it before making the purchase. How often have you ordered clothes online to find they don’t fit as you expected? Or purchased something decorative online and discovered it isn’t the same size as you expected or the colors aren’t as appealing to you as they were in the online photos?

According to the data reported by Business Wire, Americans pointed specifically to the following benefits they find when buying a product at a store versus shopping online:

  • Being able to get exactly the thing they want – 62 percent
  • The immediacy of the experience – 61 percent
  • Being able to see the product before it is delivered – 58 percent
  • Having a hands-on experience with the product before purchasing – 53 percent
  • Being able to ensure that the product being purchased is undamaged – 53 percent

 

This data doesn’t mean that in-store retail will always be preferable relative to online. Clearly some industries lend themselves more to online retail than others. The importance of the tactile experience is diminished when it comes to purchasing items like cleaning products, printer cartridges, a new charger for your phone, etc. Also, online shopping is great when we’re buying a brand-name product we’re familiar with and don’t need to re-evaluate — a favorite perfume, a replacement pair of jeans or new golf balls. Additionally, online retail offers many benefits, such as consumer reviews, easy price comparison and convenience.

Online retail is an important part of today’s retail environment, but it has a long way to go before it overtakes brick-and-mortar. The key for marketers is to determine which medium is most conducive to their industry and their offerings. And don’t make the mistake of thinking it needs to be a one-or-the-other decision. Many marketers effectively combine the online retail experience with their brick-and-mortar stores.

Retail marketers in brick and mortar environments can effectively leverage positive, and valued, consumer experiences to drive store traffic. How you can leverage both online and offline shopping experiences to boost your bottom line?

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About Us

Strategic Communications, LLC, works with B2B clients to help them achieve their goals through effective content marketing and management with both internal and external audiences. We are adept at evaluating and analyzing communication efforts and working with clients to plan, create and publish high-quality, unique content, through both on- and offline media to achieve desired results. Our background in business journalism, marketing, PR/media relations and online communications makes us well-positioned to serve the needs of 21st-century marketers.

We serve clients who are looking for help creating content for a wide array of channels—from social media posts to full-length manuscripts, and everything in between. We focus primarily on service-related B2B topics and work with a number of independent consultants interested in building their thought leadership through online channels. For ongoing content management, our first step is to fully understand your goals, objectives and competitive landscape.

Then we’ll conduct a thorough analysis and assessment of your digital presence, compared to competitors, and recommend a communication strategy to achieve your goals. But, we also regularly take on individual projects – white papers, blog posts, contributed articles, etc. If you’re interested in learning more, let us know!

(Strategic Communications is certified as a Woman-Owned Business Enterprise through the Wisconsin Department of Administration.)

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