Online purchases have been continually on the rise since the ‘birth’ of e-commerce. Just this year, online sales have reached 8.6% of overall retail sales. This is a 14.9% growth since the same time last year and the year isn’t even finished!
Brick-and-mortar stores have been increasingly closing shop, especially in the United States where over 3,500 stores closed in 2016, including those from big name brands like Macy’s and Walmart. However, this does not spell the end of in-store retail. For example, 90% of shoppers still prefer to shop in-store!
Our Advice? Merging Worlds
Let’s look at the recent purchase of Whole Foods by Amazon. While Amazon is fully dedicated to online sales, Whole Foods is not. This acquisition represents exactly where retail is going today: a combination of online and in-store. For example, while many shoppers look online first before making a purchase, they end up buying in-store and consequently spending more money than they would have online. Therefore, both online and in-store are in parity when it comes to the overall shopping experience.
This merging of two retail worlds represents one of the new buzzwords on the block, omni-channel. Omni-channel is about integrating retail channels and creating a seamless experience across all faces of this industry. While e-commerce is on the rise, this does not mean that brick-and-mortar retailing is fading out. It means it’s developing into an integrated omni-channel strategy.
If you’re a regular or online retailer, you can get started today with omni-channel integration. Bring online and offline together. You can connect your in-store and online sales experience by providing tools and options like a store locater, click-and collect services, or in-store reservations.
Harness data analytics by using data analysis tools to analyze the online and offline shopping habits of your customers and identify trends so you can how to improve and optimize the user experience for your customers.
As a brick-and-mortar retailer, you may be looking at the current rise of e-commerce as the end of your chapter. However, it’s just the beginning! There is a world of opportunity waiting to be tapped into with the e-commerce market.
For more omni-channel integration and e-commerce tips, click here!