The shopping behavior of consumers is hard to predict. It constantly switches between online shopping and a visit to a physical store. Comeos already indicated that webrooming (looking for inspiration online and then making a purchase in-store) is a lot more common than the reverse practice of window shopping. And studies show that 91% of purchases are made in physical stores, compared to 9% online. It’s clear that physical stores are here to stay, and in particular for the following reasons.
Experiencing the product
For many consumers, the main reason to make purchases in-store, is the opportunity to experience the product. That sofa that you saw online, how comfortable would it really be? Is that sweater as soft as you expected it to be? The reviews say “good quality”, but you might think differently. Have you found a nice jacket but are you unsure whether it will fit you? In a physical store, you always have the possibility to test and try things on, which is a huge help to make a final decision and ultimately increases your customer satisfaction.
Another important reason to make purchases in a physical store, is that customers highly value the advice from a professional. At least 1 in 5 customers state that customer advice is their number one reason why they prefer to shop in-store. Staff that has the right knowledge and assists you with advice, indeed creates trust. Moreover, personal services and customized advice ensure that a purchase is made more quickly. And the better the advice, the higher the chance that the customer will return. Customer experience is without a doubt a strong asset of the brick and mortar store.
Immediate availability of the product
Speed and time reduction lead to higher consumer satisfaction, that’s why webshops often offer same day delivery. But it’s not always the case for all products, so it happens that you may have to wait a few days. Or maybe you just missed the delivery and you have to go back and forth to a pickup point, which can be very time consuming as well. This is yet another reason why physical stores have a competitive edge. Their local stock ensures that customers can immediately take their products home and thus develop a strong relation with the brand.
Nowadays, customer experience is essential for any retailer. Brick and mortar shops can play this card more than ever to stand out from their online competitors. After all, shopping is also about having fun. There are many boutiques and chains that offer services in their stores, such as personal styling, alteration services, special shopping nights, workshops,… The more personal, the better! These types of initiatives ensure a true customer experience that is hard to copy for any webshop.
No return required
Many customers find the return process for online orders too complex or time consuming. So, if you go shopping in a physical store, you already save yourself the hassle of a return. You immediately choose what you want and you don’t have to worry about a potential return. Instead, just take the desired products home!
The happy medium: Click & Collect
Where in the past, you heard that every physical store needed a webshop, now you often hear the opposite. Since a physical store provides key services a webshop cannot possibly offer, they can complement each other in two directions, both with their unique services.
Many webshops therefore offer Click & Collect: you order online and collect your purchase in a physical store nearby. This way, customers can order online while also receiving personal advice and an easy return process. In short, Click & Collect brings the benefits of online and offline shopping together and offers best of both worlds.