Logo Header Menu

Why e-commerce won't kill brick-and-mortar retail

‘Shoppers crave information and want the information they access online to be available across channels’ Why e-commerce won't kill brick-and-mortar retail image

Since its inception more than two decades ago, Amazon has been the driving force behind growth in the e-commerce industry. In fact, last year, the company accounted for $0.51 of every $1 of e-commerce growth.

Given Amazon’s long-standing perch as a leader in the e-commerce space, it’s no wonder that many were surprised when the company opened its first brick-and-mortar bookstore in Seattle last fall and allegedly has plans to open as many as 400 more locations.

Time and again, Amazon has lauded e-commerce as an efficient and convenient alternative to brick-and-mortar stores – so what has changed? 

While it remains to be seen whether these rumours actually come to fruition, the notion that Amazon would consider investing in brick-and-mortar stores is not so far-fetched after all.

>See also: 5 critical requirements for surviving and thriving in e-commerce today

A recent study from PowerReviews found that the next generation of shoppers could be leading a return to in-store shopping. Of the more than 1,700 U.S. Centennials (ages 13-18) surveyed, 94% prefer to research and browse products online, yet when it comes to making the final purchase decision, almost half (46%) prefer to buy in-store.

If anything, Amazon’s entry into the world of brick-and-mortar retail shows that omnichannel is here. While there’s no doubt that e-commerce is growing, driven in large part by mobile, it’s important to remember that the majority of shopping still happens in a physical store.

For that reason, retailers must bridge the gap between their online initiatives and physical locations to create consistent experiences across all channels. 

The value of reviews in-store

One reason Amazon has grown to be so popular with shoppers is that the site provides reviews for all sorts of products. Amazon recognises that reviews are a powerful tool for driving sales, which is evidenced in how it laid out its first Amazon Books location.

Books are arranged in categories that include star-rating information like “Young Adult Top Sellers – 4 Stars & Above”, and under nearly every book shoppers will find a review card with a star rating, a review from someone who purchased the item, and a barcode.

Visitors can scan the barcode using the Amazon app and are taken to the item’s product page, complete with reviews and pricing.

Clearly, Amazon understands the importance of providing shoppers with the information they’re looking for regardless of whether they choose to shop online or in-store.

Optimising for mobile

As you can see from the example above, mobile devices have become a staple in the path to purchase and are quickly becoming a common element for in-store shopping experiences.

According to Forrester, mobile devices influenced more than $1 trillion of purchases, both online and offline, last year. Echoing this data, PowerReviews found that nine out of every ten shoppers use their mobile devices to help make purchase decisions while in-store.

From comparing product prices to accessing ratings and reviews, shoppers rely on mobile devices to provide them with the information they need to make a purchase decision.

In fact, nearly 70% of in-store shoppers want to access product ratings and reviews while they’re shopping in-store.

Shoppers expect mobile websites and apps to be responsive, load quickly and be user-friendly, meaning those reviews they crave should be easily accessible.

It’s imperative that retailers provide a mobile-optimised shopping experience to keep shoppers connected across channels.

With mobile devices now becoming a common part of the shopping journey, there will also likely be a rise in the use of technologies such as near-field communication (NFC) and beacons to proactively prompt and deliver the personalised product information shoppers seek.

With beacons, retailers can deliver relevant content directly to a shopper’s smartphone to draw them into a store or provide product-specific information depending on their location in the store.

>See also: UK retailers fail to capitalise on burgeoning e-commerce in China

More than 20% of shoppers would be open to being targeted by beacons as long as it helps them make the right purchase decision, save money or enhance the overall shopping experience.

NFC can also be used to engage shoppers while in store. With just a tap of their smartphone on a digital display, shoppers can instantly access product information and, in turn, retailers receive useful data on how the customer behaves while in-store.

While these technologies are still in their infancy, more and more retailers are exploring ways to bring elements of the online shopping experience in-store by providing shoppers with relevant product information.

Shoppers crave information and want the information they access online to be available across channels. It’s key to equip them with the information they need to make confident purchase decisions whether from their phone, the aisle of your store or the comfort of their own home.

 

Sourced from Matt Parsons, chief customer officer, PowerReviews

Latest news

divider
AI & Machine Learning
AI in cyber security: a necessity or too early to introduce?

AI in cyber security: a necessity or too early to introduce?

18 September 2019 / There is a list of growing cyber security threats, ranging from a rise in identity [...]

divider
Cloud & Edge Computing
CIOs struggling to tame growing enterprise cloud complexity — finds survey

CIOs struggling to tame growing enterprise cloud complexity — finds survey

18 September 2019 / It’s said that all companies are becoming software companies. Indeed, the way enterprises interact with [...]

divider
AI & Machine Learning
Is a robot tax, or even an AI tax, really a good idea?

Is a robot tax, or even an AI tax, really a good idea?

18 September 2019 / 17 February 2017, Bill Gates gave an interview with Quartz in which he argued in [...]

divider
IoT and M2M
Costa Coffee to deploy IoT-enabled vending machines

Costa Coffee to deploy IoT-enabled vending machines

18 September 2019 / Today, Costa Coffee announced its partnership with Eseye, the UK-based industrial IoT connectivity specialist, enabling [...]

divider
Research
Most companies lack a defined innovation strategy, according to survey

Most companies lack a defined innovation strategy, according to survey

17 September 2019 / Innovation as a discipline is nothing new; innovation techniques such as design thinking and the [...]

divider
Data Analytics & Data Science
Data science cowboys are exacerbating the AI and analytics challenge

Data science cowboys are exacerbating the AI and analytics challenge

17 September 2019 / In the below, Dr Scott Zoldi, chief analytics officer at analytic software firm FICO, explains [...]

divider
AI & Machine Learning
5 tips to boost employee skills in the age of AI

5 tips to boost employee skills in the age of AI

17 September 2019 / AI is poised to disrupt a wide variety of industries, ranging from finance to healthcare. [...]

divider
AI & Machine Learning
How Drax, AI and smart meters are helping UK reach zero carbon

How Drax, AI and smart meters are helping UK reach zero carbon

17 September 2019 / Can AI make meters smart? Information Age spoke to Bjoern Reinke, director of smart metering [...]

divider
Cloud & Edge Computing
Oracle and Deloitte collaborate to accelerate customer cloud journeys

Oracle and Deloitte collaborate to accelerate customer cloud journeys

16 September 2019 / Today, Oracle Consulting and Deloitte announced a strategic sales and delivery collaboration called ELEVATE. This [...]

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!

Pin It on Pinterest