• Barcode Ireland Team

Online, Offline, Omni-channel Retail

Updated: Oct 19, 2020

7 reasons why e-commerce brands should consider a physical retail store.

E-commerce continues to rapidly expand worldwide, in 2018 it was estimated that some 1.66 billion people made a purchase online. But where does this leave the physical retail store, and why is e-commerce giant Amazon building its second bricks-and-mortar store?

7 reasons why e-commerce brands should consider a physical retail store.

1. Brand awareness

Perhaps one of the more obvious benefits of a physical retail presence is brand awareness and visibility. There are fewer brands with a physical space than the competitive online market and a bricks-and-mortar store is a way of staying ahead of competitors. According to Harvard Business Review,

Providing a seamless shopping experience in brick-and-mortar stores and through a variety of digital channels not only differentiates retailers from their peers but also gives them a competitive edge over online-only retailers by leveraging their store assets.

Clever brands are using their physical stores as a means of marketing and engaging with their customers. Additionally, it offers the opportunity to familiarise target customers with the brand and its offerings.

With increased visibility, the offline store can also take advantage of passing trade without having to invest heavily in marketing. A physical space enables retailers to move products and enticing signage around to best advantage, encouraging customers to interact with items in a way that isn’t possible online, that is, using all five senses. This creates a unique in store experience that allows for brand expression.

By raising awareness around a brand, physical stores can help individuals become immersed in brand culture, creating an affinity with the brand that can develop into an enduring relationship with the retailer.

2. Improved Customer experience

Online retail cannot compete meaningfully with physical retail stores when it comes to providing customers with an immersive brand experience. Not only can merchants configure their products and display to reflect brand identity, but customers get to interact with their products in a tangible way.

The ability to see, touch and feel the products, as well as take items home immediately, is highly effective in concluding sales and especially beneficial when a complex item, that would otherwise require a lot of explanation and marketing resources in a digital medium.

In the event of an issue with the product, customers prefer to return the goods to a physical store with the attendant face to face customer service.

Research reveals that consumers still prefer physical shopping overall. A study by Vista Retail Support showed that 81% of UK consumers see the physical store as crucial to the shopping experience, with 70% of those surveyed saying they prefer the full experience of physically browsing items. The social aspect of shopping in a physical space a significant element.

The rise of experiential shopping has made physical shopping more fun and technology such as AR and artificial intelligence has made it even more convenient thereby enhancing customer experience.

Product demonstrations are obviously easier in person as are product solutions made to meet the specific needs of each customer.

3. Upselling potential

Shoppers often target stores for the instant gratification that comes with purchasing an item and taking it home immediately. Buyers want it immediately. The one to two day shipment of a quick online purchase cannot completely replicate the immediate gratification of buying products in store and taking them home.

Buyers who tend to make quick purchases online are usually those who pick up additional items on impulse whilst still in the store.

4. Know your customer

There are effective ways to garner information about customers online through e-commerce analytics. However, its even more insightful to meet customers face to face and engage them.

In-person sales, whether at a physical retail location or pop-up store, present an excellent opportunity to see how customers interact with products.

Of course retailers could send surveys to e-commerce customers and wait for them to respond, however, when at a physical retail store, the opportunity arises to initiate a conversation with them about what they liked or disliked about the merchandise. More time can be spent holding the customers attention in store than online where they may be more likely to click on an alternative site.

The information gleaned is invaluable in improving product offerings, developments and brand.

5. Reach new customers

While pedestrian traffic is declining, certain demographics tend to prefer the brick-and mortar store shopping experience to e-commerce, in particular the elderly and teenagers.

By offering merchandise in a physical retail setting, retailers can reach new customers who would not otherwise find their brand online, since that is not where they are spending their money.

Even if these potential customers are aware of an online store, they may not spend their money there. For example, a significant percentage of young customers research online and then purchase in store.

Many customers prefer to be served by salespeople with in-depth knowledge of the products as this gives them the confidence in decision making, and this happens more easily in a physical store.

6. Minimum shipping costs

In addition to all the reasons above, creating sales opportunities in person can help customers and businesses save on shipping and handling costs. While this may seem inconsequential, large, irregular or special items incur extra cost in packaging and shipping, whereas in-store sales can save money in the long term.

Hardly surprising then that Amazon now requires its sellers to offer free shipping for returns!

Savvy online retailers are using physical stores as part of their supply chain, cutting costs of inventory management, and speeding up delivery. By using shops as warehouses, online retailers can improve their distribution, and make shipment faster and more effective.

7. Traffic to e-commerce

When retailers open physical stores, the traffic to their e-commerce store increases dramatically, with individuals mentioning the brand and searching for it online.

Retail is evolving. Innovative and flexible retailers now embrace the synergy between online and offline retail - omni-channel retail, a winning combination in the competitive digital age.

Our barcodes work internationally. Should you require barcodes for your online, offline or omni-channel product, please visit our Buy page www.barcodeireland.ie/buy, or contact us on info@barcodeireland.ie or through the contact form on our website www.barcodeireland.ie/contact and let Barcode Ireland help your business.






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