Offline leads the future of retail
E-commerce is a one-of-a-kind, ever-growing business. Since its inception, it has completely changed our way of buying, completely revolutionizing the shopping process. Online shopping allows consumers to shop whenever and wherever they want, whether they are at their desk during a lunch break or late at night while in bed with a smartphone. It allows them to browse for as long as they want, comparing products and prices from different retailers and verifying customer reviews before making the final decision.
Despite the obvious advantages, the problem of logistics continues to suffer: in fact, the products must be physically delivered to customers, unlike other companies, where end-to-end transactions can be completed on the network.
In this regard, adopting an omnichannel strategy has many advantages: it improves brand recognition, but also supplies chain management. In fact, e-commerce has always been just another retail channel, but positioned as a technology business by strategy: Amazon, along with other pure-play e-commerce companies, has also contribute to create the impression that offline properties such as stores, warehouses, offices, which until now had been active, were now liabilities.
Retailers have been over a decade late to realize that offline resources are very valuable and that consumers are constantly looking for uninterrupted experiences, which can only be provided through tight integration between digital and offline resources.
As a result, the omnichannel rush has become the focus of the retail of the future: offline and online, working together as a single entity to increase the company’s benefits.
How to increase credibility?
E-commerce is able to capture only a small percentage of the business. Thanks to data analysis, however, retailers can have a better understanding of customer behaviour: online players are able to play even in offline space, and vice versa.
In addition, a strategy based on a hybrid model helps online retailers gain credibility, gain consumer loyalty and market analysis.
For example, customers can view online inventories as they travel around the store using their smartphones or tablets. In this context, choosing an online product and verifying the price and quality while inside the physical store can give consumers the necessary security to have brand credibility.
But even offline retail has its advantages. When you shop in stores, consumers can pick up and inspect a product, test it or try it. Offline shopping offers instant gratification, with buyers able to take a product off the shelf rather than waiting for it to be delivered; and many consumers still enjoy the experience of visiting the main street or a mall.
For these reasons, online and offline are impossible to separate: according to Google, moreover, about 85% of online users start buying on one device and ending the action on another. It is therefore necessary for retailers to ride this trend by making their online experience as integrated and user-friendly as possible.