A recent D&I Consulting analysis indicates that striking the right combination between digital and physical retail experience is no longer a nice add-on but a must have for retail businesses. Whether most businesses are ready for this or not is another question. Others pertinent questions are if the current infrastructure in place is sufficient for brands looking to adapt. One thing is clear, however. Brands must do more to keep up with rapidly shifting customer preferences and expectations.
For instance, in categories where customers predominantly shop in physical stores, have started getting considerations for online shopping. They include basic groceries, fruits, and vegetables. In this study, 41% say although they still shop in physical stores, they shop a lot more online in comparison to their behaviour before the pandemic. 36% have gone right back to physical stores since retail businesses reopened for business, while 17% will shop more at brick-and-mortar stores. Finally, only 6% will only be shopping strictly online.
Convenience remains the major motivating factor informing customers’ decisions on where or which location they would like to shop be it online or a physical store. When customers find themselves needing to get a specific task done or realise, they need something, 40% of customers will search online first. And they do this for two major reasons. To see if they can get it faster online or to compare prices. This plays to the advantage of stores with a digital presence and the major players in ecommerce. Should they find the product or service at the right price online with fulfilment costs not making much difference, then they will abort the shopping mission. Only in instances such as ultra-convenience; like getting balloons on your way back home to celebrate a child’s birthday or the acquisition of a high involvement product in which trusted advice becomes imperative can physical stores be confident to win.
By keeping the experience with your brand consistent and accessible, an omnichannel experience will help businesses reach and engage more customers and strengthen their loyalty. And it is a method that works well for small firms since the levers and tools needed to connect your channels are already available. The average shopper is active on all major social media platforms like TikTok, Instagram, WhatsApp, and others.
This is not a time to think about it. The time is now to implement it.