With the ever-increasing convenience of online shopping causing small retailers to take a step back, brick-and-mortar stores are coming face-to-face with e-commerce giants to remain relevant. While ecommerce retail sales are expected to account for 13.7% of worldwide retail sales in 2019 (Statista), in-store retail shopping still remains the preferred method for 82% of Millennials who engage in online shopping (Synchrony). That doesn’t mean that retailers aren’t finding innovating ways of attracting more customers to avoid getting left out of the shopping equation entirely.
Brick-and-Mortar Stores Enter the Online Battleground
Small online storefronts simply may not have the same overhead as a brick-and-mortar retail business. To counteract this, staying ahead of the competition often means fighting fire with fire. While brick-and-mortar stores currently hold the economic power, they can easily lose traction without the implementation of online shopping to their sales strategy to maximize ROI and overall longevity. Diversifying a brick-and-mortar store could mean the difference between staying afloat or becoming another closure statistic.
Wal-Mart is a great example of a brick-and-mortar store that’s successfully generating sales online. To enhance the shopper experience online, they’ve made several improvements to their mobile app, employing ship-from-store, scan-and-go, pay-with-cash, and same-day-delivery strategies to sell more products online. Not only are they making the most out of their physical presence, they’re also seeing potential in adding alternative means of shopping.
Ecommerce Giants are Reverting to Physical Locations
Surprisingly, online stores are taking a different approach to their original sales tactic. While brick-and-mortar stores are adding online sales to their sales strategy, ecommerce businesses are realizing the potential of having a physical presence. A recent experiment near Dallas, TX could open up new possibilities for future physical stores. Neighborhood Goods is a large, 14,000 square-foot store that contains a carefully selected collection of products that can normally only be found online. The space includes a restaurant and hangout spots, as well as products from over 30 different brands such as Hook & Albert, an online store that sells luxury leather goods.
In order to collect valuable consumer data based on their shopping habits, the store also has hidden cameras that count heads, gather gender information, and examine the type of products that consumers pick up and look at. Many consumers aren’t bothered by the fact that they’re being tracked. As one shopper said, “When you go and
shop in stores, mostly everything is on camera. You know, you get a ticket, it’s on camera, so I think that’s just the new technology.” Brands that feature in the store also find the experience beneficial on more than just a sales level. Paul Song, a managing partner at Hook & Albert said, “In the future, when we eventually hope to expand on our physical retail presence and have stores of our own… data like that is invaluable for us.”
Physical Presence Offer Unique Customer Experiences
While brick-and-mortar stores and ecommerce giants are stepping onto each other’s playing fields, the challenge remains the same: store owners need to add value for the customer. Brick-and-mortar stores have the opportunity to play to their own strengths by creating a unique shopping experience that simply can’t be found online. In-store exclusives such as discounts and events offer incentives for consumers to step away from the screen and into a world of retail possibilities.
Ecommerce stores, although already successful, have the opportunity to increase ROI by simply becoming more accessible to those who wish to shop at a physical store. Stores like Neighborhood Goods enable consumers to touch and examine products before making the purchase, adding to the overall adventure of shopping. Matt Alexander, founder of Neighborhood Goods states, “Our focus in this room is creating a sense of magnetism to the space that has very little to do with the transaction, and much more to do with that experience.”
Learn the importance of unique brick and mortar shopping strategies by reading our blog “The Battle of E” – Smaller is Better in Retail – Making Things Easy & Convenient for Customers.