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Is the future of retail online or offline?

Is the future of retail online or offline?

13.05.2019
Retail

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E-commerce is growing rapidly and with it the discussions as to whether online shops will eliminate brick and mortar businesses.

But if you take a closer look at the statistics and the buyer behavior, it becomes immediately clear that it will be an online and offline world. The e-commerce will increase steadily, but there remains enough share for stationary stores. The future will be omnichannel: online, mobile and stationary.

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The future will be omnichannel: online, mobile and stationary - because every channel provides its advantages.

Advantages and reasons for offline shopping in physical stores:

  • Instant delivery, immediate availability and no risk of delays.
  • Multisensory experience – shopping is entertainment and a leisure activity.
  • Fresh food.
  • Advice.
  • Trust and security.
  • See and try goods.
  • Social contacts, know people at stores personally.
  • Easy return process.
  • Experience brand.

Advantages and reasons for shopping online and mobile:

  • Convenience: no need to visit shop.
  • Everything at one place and 24/7 shopping.
  • More details about the products available.
  • Delivery, no carrying.
  • Better prizes and easy prize comparison.
  • More variety, get almost everything online and easy finding.
  • No crowds.
  • Saving time.

Considering the advantages of online and offline shopping, it becomes clear that both channels have their right to exist. Reason is that both shopping options have their special advantages customers would like to enjoy.

The trend is moving to omni-channel.

  1. Customers are using both channels according to their situational demand.
    For example, if you are on your way home and would like to cook a fresh salmon right now, you will buy it in a store. If, on the other hand, you need a very special shoe for a party next month, you will order online.
  2. Advantages of both channels are combined by the buyer, e.g. inform online and buy offline or test offline and buy online.
  3. Both channels will exist, so retailers and brand owners have to address both. For instance, Amazon as an online retailer is starting stationary stores. Check this article why Amazon is moving into Brick and Mortar.

Therefore, from today's point of view, both channels will last even longer. But due to the increasing digitalization and retail innovations, eCommerce will definitely grow much more stronger.

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