There was a time that businesses operated under the misconception that if the sales at their brick and mortar branches were declining, then the business itself was failing as well. This is an argument that has since been disproven, countless times.
The new trend in technology doesn’t necessarily have to dismantle and reinstate the old system. It is a matter of cross-pollination. This process creates revolution not just evolution.
It goes without saying that online retailers have firm benefits- mainly digitization. Once these benefits are mated with the natural human need to obtain physical and local experiences, the results are astounding. This contact will create a large win where the customer is concerned. In essence, they are getting the best of both worlds (for lack of a better cliché.)
For the businesses that are strictly click and mortar, and never built upon the original brick and mortar model, a lot of understanding can be obtained here as well. This new breed of retailers can use alternate prototypes to better understand where and how consumers shop. This in turn, gives them the advantage of tweaking their business model to offer the same feelings of satisfaction that customers receive from a physical shopping experience.
There are 4 main reasons customers shop online:
PRICE: Customers shop with ease when they can compare prices from various sites/stores.
SELECTION: Shelf space is free in the virtual world. This means customers have a much greater selection
CONVENIENCE: Websites are never closed and most can offer shipping within 24 hours
ACCESS: Shoppers can purchase goods from anywhere in the world.
Apple® on the other hand, is a perfect example of how online retailers can also rule both worlds. Steve Jobs realized that there is a special relationship between a customer and an exceptional customer service agent. The appeal to the Apple® store is not just the pleasing way it is laid out and exceptional aesthetics. It’s biggest appeal is the outstanding customer service. This is where the click and mortar have to fight and claw their way through many potential agents to find just the right one with the perfect touch.
“How can I help?” Customers want answers and they want them yesterday. They want to know that they are being taken care of, nurtured, respected and that their business is treasured. This is where online retailers have to spend most of their focus. Of course, creating the easiest and most navigatable website has indefinite perks for driving sales. That can all face plant if you don’t have that one special person on the other end of the line willing to help.
No matter how much ecommerce sales will displace brick and mortar in the future, there is nothing that can compensate for real life human experience. They will always have a role to play in any business. Forever.