In today’s increasingly connected world it’s essential that business owners consider the many touch points at which they can reach their customer. The act of shopping is no longer contained to the point of purchase, it is a multi-layered event with activity occurring at both the physical and digital level.
Earlier this week, we discussed the recent trend of ‘webrooming’, or the act of researching a product or service online before going into a brick-and-mortar to make the actual purchase. The prevalence of webrooming is a huge shift from the previous trend of ‘showrooming’, where consumers examined merchandise in a brick-and-mortar and then completed the purchase online- a trend that sent many brick-and-mortars into a tailspin. This welcome reality check forces all retailers, whether online or brick-and-mortar, to consider which approach is best.
In her recent article “Online to Offline: The Pros and Cons of Retail“, Penelope Edwards of www.business2community.com explains that , “In this modern world of technology the internet is probably one of the biggest and most significant inventions to have come about well… ever. Businesses would be foolish to ignore it as a channel with a substantial route to market. However, whilst there is a lot of money to be made online there are some negatives too.”
Aside from the rise in webrooming, these negatives include less customer contact, decreased trust, no ability to touch or feel the product and increased competition. With the cons so substantial, yet the need for digital remaining, what is the modern business owner to do? Edwards suggests, “Have both of course- that way you cover all the bases.”
This omnichannel approach does not force businesses to chose clicks over bricks, but instead allows retailers to access consumers where they now shop, live, work and play- in both the physical and the digital.
Will you be incorporating both online and offline into your retail agenda for 2015?