Is Online Driving Away In-Store Customers? Nope!

Aug 29, 2016 — Aaron Shauf
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Having spent the better part of a few days combing through sales and revenue data, forecasts and historic facts, I wondered whether the current landscape of retail in 2016 is what we expected it to be.  

What were industry pundits predicting in the past, and were they right?  In an effort to procrastinate with a purpose from what I was doing, I browsed and I found the following quote from 2005.

"Businesses are debating their online strategy. Many believe they became too focused on sales. Now they're looking at their websites as a way to drive in-store traffic and increase their engagement with customers," said Forrester Research Vice President, Carrie Johnson. "This is a huge shift in philosophy as e-commerce enters a more sophisticated phase. But it's also creating tension as CEOs demand ROI for expensive websites with hard to define metrics such as loyalty and brand."

Here we are, 11 years later and this same debate, this eternal battle, is still raging around us. Since then, we have heard of the death of malls, the debilitating setbacks of brick-and-mortar, the expected rise of e-commerce and m-commerce and so many more trends and forecasts, but Ms. Carrie Johnson had it pegged in 2005 and forecasted a concept that hasn’t been fleshed out even a decade on. E-commerce is doing one thing for sure -- influencing. Take the apparel industry, for instance: 

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Let your channels work together

With consumers having less and less reason to make the journey to the physical store, online interactions with them should provide the information and convenience to compel them to go. The store's function to the consumer is evolving, based on the need to attract customers, by becoming a repository of product knowledge, a place of convenience, and an overall experience.

Online interactions have to train in the same vein instead of solely focusing on the sale. They are influencing consumers to travel to the store to make a final purchase decision. 

The concept of driving sales will always be top of mind for retailers, but the approach of their channels to simply be engines to capture sales are over. That includes the channel that is personified by the front line employee. In this day and age, all channels have to be dynamic relationship creators in order to maximize captured sales and consumer loyalty. 

Learn more about how you can connect your channels and deliver an omnichannel experience by adopting platform technology in our infographic 'Platform for Omnichannel Success.'

 

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Topics: Retail Operations, Customer Experience

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