With the onslaught of e-commerce stores and advancements in technology, an assumption would be that consumers would be drawn to shop online as opposed to shopping in-store.
However, a recent survey of 1,425 U.S. consumers done by Retail Dive shows that just 7% of consumers choose to “only shop online.”
The need to see, feel & touch
Consumers are still choosing in-store rather than online to be able to physically see and touch the items they’re purchasing and receive instant gratification by taking their purchase home immediately.The trend has led traditional e-commerce companies to open physical locations and some brick-and- mortar retailers to move to larger spaces.
As an example, e-commerce giant Amazon has started testing physical stores and recently Lush, a bath and cosmetics retailer announced that they’re starting to move into larger stores. For a retailer like Lush, an online presence is an asset, but the in-store experience is essential. The larger square footage allows for their sales associates to have space to demo their many different and innovative products to consumers who may otherwise not know how to use them.
According to the same Retail Dive survey, 62% of consumers are driven into stores to see, touch, feel and try out items before making a purchase. In verticals such as cosmetics and apparel, this is vital.
When a customer has a chance to try out a new cosmetic product in-store, it increases the chance that they will be happy with their purchase. Comparatively an apparel retailer benefits from a physical space to allow consumers to try on different pieces of clothing to ensure the fit and style.
Additionally, 49% of respondents mentioned the want “to take items home immediately” as the second most important reason as to why they shop in-store. In a society based on immediate gratification, it makes sense that consumers would want to make a purchase immediately rather than wait for shipping. The same applies for returns. Customers want to be able to instantly return an item they aren’t satisfied with rather than having to mail it back to the e-commerce site.
Technology to bridge the gap
While a retailer’s online presence is necessary, it is also equally as important to not lose focus on the physical store presence. An effective way to bridge the in-store experience and the online experience is to bring technology into your store. Interactive display solutions like Endless Aisle allow for consumers to experience the best of both worlds. Product information, color variances and further inventory options similar to online can be made readily available on the kiosk. The option to see, feel, touch and walk away with something new? That's still there too.
To meet rising consumer demand for a seamless, channel agnostic shopping experience, savvy retailers are turning to endless aisle technology to open up their entire inventory array at the store level.