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With traditional e-commerce giants like Amazon making the move to open brick-and-mortar locations, the trend towards an omnichannel retail experience is undeniable. Both digital and physical stores continue to play important, if not always equal, roles in the shopping journey of modern consumers.
What does each of these retail channels offer that is unique? What are common elements shared between the two? And most importantly, could retail today exist without the combined benefits of e-commerce and physical stores?
Read More: Omnichannel Retail vs Ecommerce Pureplay
Related: Get the Competitive Advantage with Buy Online Pickup In-store (BOPIS)
Omnichannel retail offers the opportunity for brands to be everywhere. Shoppers can find brands in a physical store, desktop computer at home, on a smart-speaker through to a smartphone, tablet or other mobile device. The goal of retailers who are working towards an omnichannel business is that of a seamless experience for the customer. In short, anywhere the customer engages with the brand, their experience will be the same.
Therefore, it’s not only important for the retailer to be everywhere but to offer a consistent brand experience everywhere. To accomplish this, the benefits of every channel (digital and physical) must be operating at peak performance.
Together, e-commerce and physical stores can provide all of the things that matter most to consumers.
McKinsey Research and Harvard Business Review worked with a retailer who operates hundreds of stores across the U.S to learn just how important omni-channel retail customers really are.
The study discovered:
Findings also indicated that omnichannel retail customers spent an average of 4% more on every shopping occasion in-store, and 10% more online than single-channel customers.
Through omnichannel retail, the physical and the digital pack a powerful punch. Retailers who offer click & collect (or BOPIS) can satisfy the speed and convenience benefits of e-commerce and serve the (near) instant gratification required by some customers. Customer experience is enhanced when store employees and other in-store touchpoints have digital devices that provide inventory visibility, product information and additional brand knowledge. Together, physical stores and digital technology are more impactful to retail success than either of the channels alone.
We’ve all been asking the wrong question. It’s not how e-commerce and brick-and-mortar stack up against each other. Rather, it’s about how e-commerce and physical stores can stack on top of each other to push retailers to the top.