With a growing number of online companies considering going the brick and mortar way, 2019 is being touted as the tipping point for “click-to-brick” stores. Just as well – as per a study by Timetrade, in spite of all the hype around online stores, when it comes to choosing a method of shopping that’s most convenient, physical stores are still the most preferred.
Let’s delve deeper into the offline revolution that is taking over online shopping. So, what’s it about physical stores that gets the customer votes? Well, for starters, in spite of the fact that we live in times where everything is available at the click of a button, personal experience is still held in high regard. Even today, an in-store interaction with real store personnel and being able to see and experience products before purchasing is greatly valued.
As per a representative of American Real Estate firm, Prudential Douglas Elliman, « Shoppers love to touch, interact and try on in person and malls are upping the ante by offering immersive experiences that are exciting and memorable.” Internalizing this trend, online mattress retailer, Casper is now opening stores where people can nap on mattresses and test them before buying. This is a clear shift in its previous strategy of sticking to only an online presence for a robust sales growth.
Apparently, it can be as much as 10 times more expensive to acquire a customer online as compared to offline! Successful online retailers such as Amazon and Warby Parker are also realising that having a physical counterpart to their virtual stores could boost their visibility and help them acquire customers more efficiently. Promptly rising to the occasion, they’ve added substantially to their physical presence, marking their entry into the world of bricks and mortar in style.
Transitioning into click-to-brick stores is particularly important for luxury e-tailers, enabling customers to view expensive products before buying, as is for apparel brands for letting customers try their products before buying. Bonobos, an online apparel subsidiary of Walmart has already got more than 60 stores in the USA alone and plans to increase this number to 100 by 2020. What’s interesting is that many such brands including Bonobos, do not stock actual inventory at their stores. Instead, all shoppers do is place their orders there which are later delivered to their doorstep. To sum it up in a line – The future of online is offline.