ASG Insight

Physical and Digital Worlds Are Colliding in Retail

For several years, retailers have made the mistake of assuming an all-or-nothing approach. There were concerns that brick-and-mortar stores were on their way out, and that ecommerce was the future of success. However, the latest consumer trends demonstrate that a strict adherence to one retail method over another is not the right approach. Customers want a holistic shopping experience, and a single channel is no longer enough.

Shoppers Want an Omnichannel Experience

Why is pursuing an omnichannel retail strategy so important? Data shows that omnichannel customers spend 3.5 times more than other shopper types, which can be attributed to the flexibility and ease of the shopping experience. Many customers research online for purchases made in store, and online purchasing is a convenience that stems from the ability to touch and feel at brick-and-mortar retail locations. There is little to gain with direct competition between brick-and-mortar and ecommerce retailers, because consumers want to access brands on both platforms.

Brick-and-Mortar vs Ecommerce Will Lead to Failure

Retailers are starting to realize that to provide convenient and personalized shopping, an omnichannel experience is necessary. This isn’t a repeal and replace scenario – it’s an augmentation. Consumers want to move fluidly between online, offline, in-store and the comfort of home – a core difference in omnichannel versus multichannel. An omnichannel strategy lets the consumer select the shopping or purchasing option that best suits their needs, providing a seamless experience regardless of the channel being used. The goal is promoting a better overall experience.

Success Relies on “Click-and-Mortar” Delivery

Research demonstrates that 55% of shoppers who buy online prefer to purchase from a brick-and-mortar retail store than an online-only vendor. This suggests the surge in brick-and-mortar success, but only when combined with the convenience associated with online shopping. Customers want options that are only available with an omnichannel strategy or “click-and-mortar” delivery method.

Brick-and-mortar and ecommerce retailers must now depend on each other for survival in wake of the most recent shifts in the industry. A single channel alone cannot compete when it is the customer experience that is being compared, and an omnichannel strategy also assists retailers in better understanding customer behavior. Multiple channels of business promote different information streams, which offers retailers more data in determining how to create a personalized shopping experience.

There are many benefits to an omnichannel strategy, but the truth is in the numbers. Retailers that subscribe to only one method are bound to struggle in this new age of cooperation. Physical and digital worlds are colliding, and consumers want it all.