In-Store and Online Shopping Experiences Merge

About 70% of online users regularly make purchases online. However, even though online sales are growing, they still only account for about 5% of total retail sales.
online shopping
This is because most people still like shopping in stores. Whether it’s because they still want to see and touch products in real like, or they want to speak to a sales person before making a major purchase, consumers want the in-store experience, but with the benefits of online shopping, with price comparison, product information and reviews and product customization.
online shopping vs. in-store shopping
The “digital store” is a proposed solution that will fill the gap between online and offline shopping. Whereas most bookstores are being shut down or constantly struggling, Barnes & Nobel has brought digital technolgies into their stores, placing large digital kiosks in store engryways where cusotmers can get books for their Nooks. The compromise seems to have worked. Oakely is another retailer who has installed kiosks to allow customers to easy customize sunglasses and goggles with an interactive app, then ordering and haing them shipped to their home or delivered to the store for pickup.
instore shopping mimics online shopping
Walmart is also stepping up, offering scannable barcodes that will provide product reviews, information and offers to smartphone users. Walmart now has apps for iPhone, iPad and Android users in a n effort to bring digital technologies in-store.
retail shopping
Target had ins-store QR codes for toys this holiday season. Scanning the codes would allow shoppers to scan and purchase the product, complete with free shipping, even if it was sold out in store. Target sees this service as a way for parents to shop with kids, allowing them to buy toys without having to try to hide them in the cart.
shopping
However, doesn’t it seem that many of the “resources” the brick-and-mortar stores are beginning to offer really only serve as gimmicks? It seems like the real reasons for an in-store experience are not being enhanced by any of the digital enhancements being rolled out. For example, Walmart’s new scannable barcodes really just make it a little easier to look the item up online–which you could just as easily do from home. This only works well if the consumer was contemplating postponing the purchase until he had gone home and checked reviews online, which in all honesty is pretty easily done from a smartphone whether or not the store provides a “scannable barcode.”
ecommerce and retail
Do you think this merge of online and in-store will prove to be a waste, or might it actually be beneficial to consumers?
online shopping
Sources:
online shopping
Essick, Kristi. “Re-Inventing the Mall: How Retailers are Bringing Digital Technologies In-Store.” Cisco.com. 2012. Cisco. 28 Dec. 2012 <http://newsroom.cisco.com/feature/1106582/Re-Inventing-the-Mall-How-Retailers-are-Bringing-Digital-Technologies-In-Store>.

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