Omnipresent e-commerce? Deserted shops? We are far from it. In fact, 90% of all purchases are still made in-store and a majority of consumers resort to web-to-store.
Did you say web-to-store?
Web-to-store describes the behavior of Internet users who look for information on the web before going out to a shop to make the purchase. This new trend – very popular among web users – epitomizes the actual evolution of the retail sector. In fact, it is becoming more and more essential for retailers to ensure a perfect synergy between all their distribution channels.
For instance, the flagship Piperlime in Soho fully understood the need for web-to-store complementarity by naming its store departments the same way it named their website tabs. This way, physical stores become a natural extension of online experience.
The physical store offers a unique shopping experience
As shown by the opening of the first physical Amazon store, we are not facing the death of physical stores but rather their re-enchantment, or even revival. Keeping in mind cross-channel distribution strategies, retailers need to take advantage of each and every channel. In this regard, physical stores play a substantial part in the way brands engage with their consumers. For example, in order to fully embody its brand’s soul, La Féé Maraboutée – a French fashion brand - provides consumers with a unique in-store experience by presenting its products in apartments-boutiques inspired by the city’s heritage.
Online-offline coherence is taking a stronger hold in retail industry
Although a lot of consumers followed the path of online shopping, others are still reluctant to abandon physical shops. Because of the variety of consumers’ behaviors, brands need to deliver the same quality of service on each selling channels. If the online offers or the online promises are not in synch with what the store is ready to do, or capable of doing, retailers are likely to lose clients.
For these reasons, the American drugstore Bed Bath & Beyond is letting consumers buy products straight from its print advertisements by scanning the mobile bar codes featured prominently on the in-store static ad.
In-store execution: a key to success
Retail companies have started to really integrate an online-offline coherence in their business strategies thanks to existing tools. Implementing a perfect in-store execution and offering customers a unique in-store shopping experience enable physical stores to maintain an added value compared to online shopping.
All in all, the recent evolution of retail requires brands to develop their distribution channels as a homogeneous block. Being omni-channel does not only mean having a website but mainly reflecting the same image on every channel.
Picture Source :
(1) La Fée Maraboutée, June 2012 by Gala (http://www.gala.fr/)