“The end is nigh” …”The writing is on the wall”…Major companies facing “chapter 11” scenarios…How many idioms have you encountered regarding the fate of brick and mortar retail stores?
It seemed inevitable that the last two years would see the decline of physical stores snowball with Armageddon like consequences for the high street. Interestingly this particular prophecy has not yet been fulfilled. Consider: In the USA, the country that practically single handedly funded the online warehousing retailing behemoth amazon.com, 2017 statistics show that 94% of total retail sales are still generated in brick & mortar stores (1).
Could it be that the line drawn in the sand between the old and the new, brick and mortar store commerce and online retail, is not quite as clearly defined as they say? Even if one day the promised move from traipsing the high street to the complete home shopping experience does come to fruition, the latest figures tell us that, at least for now, we are not as close as we are led to believe. We are at best in a transition that has yet to indicate signs of completion. So, what will you choose? A 100% brick and mortar solution and miss the online retail revolution? Or a purely e-commerce based approach and live with the anxiety that you may have entered this world too soon or that your customers value the tangibility of your product more than you predicted.
Hail “connected commerce” retailing as the saviour of retail owners in this particular limbo.
Connected Commerce is the ultimate way to conduct omnichannel marketing which gives the customer a single experience by providing a seamless transition between the physical store and the online equivalent. Two thirds of in-store shoppers will check prices on their phone before making a purchase (2). They are literally looking for an online experience in a physical location? How can you better facilitate the shopper who wants to be in both worlds at once? By unifying your data and providing your customer a wholesome experience at all and many touch points.
For retailers searching to unify their commerce units and bringing digital transformation in a physical store, Shopi provides all the simple, connected, seamless, fast and digital experience for an undecided world. From a retailer’s point of view, it’s all the data from ERP, media server, PIM, E-commerce and what not elegantly orchestrated and organized into talented user interfaces. From a shopper’s point of view it is all the benefits of an online store and an offline store merged together…
Shopisign, Shopi’s endless aisle solution, create unique opportunities for stores of various sizes or chain stores. Consider a store with limited floor space but a large product selection. Even stores with a budget footprint can instantly create endless digital aisles. Thus the potential product scope can be substantially increased. Customers can literally choose to peruse the online location in the brick and mortar store. They can shop in an online store whilst enjoying the ease of an electronic basket and checkout experience. This simple idea belies further benefits. The browsing data provided by Shopi tools provide invaluable insight into customer behaviour in each store. More stores…more data, further Shopi tools provide data per store.
Perhaps you are thinking that “omnichannel” or even “connected commerce” is a current buzzword, a temporary fix, and that a purely online solution is the only worthy investment for the future. Think again.
The online startup Amazon.com that we discussed earlier, who posted profits of $60.5 billion for the fourth quarter of 2017 (3)…has opened 13 brick and mortar stores in the last 28 months (3), with a further four planned. These are figures that are hard to argue with. Brick and mortar shopping is not dying, it’s beautifully and digitally transforming.
(1) Retail’s Main Event: Brick & Mortar vs. Online, Ray Hartjen – http://retailnext.net/blog/brick-and-mortar-vs-online-retail/
(2) The future of e-commerce: bricks and mortar – https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/jan/30/future-of-e-commerce-bricks-and-mortar
(3) Amazon shares jump after earnings, Eugene Kim – https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/01/amazon-earnings-q4-2017.html