Ecommerce Puts Pressure On Brick-And-Mortar Retailers


eCommerce has not stopped people from going to shopping centres, but it has changed the way they make purchase decisions.

Unlike in the past when customers would walk into a shop clueless about what to buy, modern shoppers research online before buying.

Among the factors which influence their decision whether or not to buy an item are price and reviews.

They want to be able to compare real-time prices and see what other people thought of the item.

When an informed customer walks into a shop, they expect somebody to help them find the item which they intend to buy. If they don’t get immediate assistance, they will not make any purchases and just leave in a flash.

A recent report by retail analytics company ShopperTrak has found that 15% of in-store shoppers are turned off by store associates who have little or no knowledge about the products that they’re selling.

Cocky sales personnel who overdo their sales pitch are also disliked by 27% of customers.

The same report, which is, by the way, called ‘Redesigning Retail: What Does The Future Of Physical Retail Look Like?’, also revealed that 31% of in-store shoppers want contactless card payment systems or mobile payments because long queues discourage them from proceeding to the checkout.

Although it may seem that eCommerce was responsible for creating spoiled consumers who want to get the best of both worlds-online and offline shopping-it actually allowed brick-and-mortar businesses to improve for the better.

Combining the digital and physical worlds

The digital world has closed up the gap between eCommerce and brick-and-mortar businesses, and it has even expanded the customer base of the latter.

Through mobile phones, tablets and smartwatches, consumers can now purchase items anywhere, even from shops that are located in far-flung regions or countries.

Any physical shop which shies away from digital tools aren’t only lagging behind those that have already integrated digital technology into their day-to-day operations but are missing potential sales.

According to the report of ShopperTrak, 27% of UK consumers want to see sales personnel equipped with tablet devices through which they can access online reviews of an item that they like and check if it is in stock.

It also mentioned how a scanning app, which is synonymous to Walmart’s Scan and Go option as well as Amazon Go’s no checkout feature, can help reduce queuing time.

Human interaction alone won’t give physical retailers an edge over their online counterparts in terms of customer satisfaction. Although the modern shopper still appreciates the helpfulness of an in-store sales personnel, data is equally important for their shopping experience.

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