Online shopping has brought consumers an undeniable level of convenience. Who doesn’t appreciate placing an order from the living room couch or kitchen table?
Say you order a pair of shoes online, and they don’t fit. Now you have to go through the hassle of printing out a return label and driving to the nearest post office or parcel service location to return them. You also have to decide if it’s worth the risk of ordering another size.
As good as the online experience can be, you simply can’t try on shoes or clothing. You can’t touch the item. And no matter how good the images are, that piece of furniture you see on a computer screen may not look quite the same as in person.
This may explain why online shopping, despite its popularity, still can’t attract the number of shoppers that brick-and-mortar stores do. Research shows 61% of consumers still do their shopping in store, compared to 31% who turn to the web.
When shopping at brick-and-mortar locations, people are more likely to buy more than they had planned. Forty percent of shoppers buy unplanned items at physical stores, compared to 25% who do so online.
That may explain why online brands such as Athleta, Boston Proper and Bonobos have all opened brick-and-mortar locations. Even Amazon, the queen of online shopping, opened their first physical store in November 2015.
Why In-store Still Works
There are multiple reasons brick-and-mortar stores still work — and aren’t going away any time soon. As already mentioned, the ability to touch an item is a big one. Nothing can replace that. In-store shopping also brings instant gratification.
If you fall in love with an item and want to take it home immediately, you can’t do that with online shopping. Even if you order something to be delivered overnight, you have to wait for it. It’s no wonder online retailers such as Amazon have been testing same day delivery and plans to deliver orders by drone. But even with drones, the warehouse would have to be close enough to the buyer for same- day delivery to work.
Aside from instant gratification, shoppers can make a personal connection with store personnel, who if they are well-versed in the products they sell, can be more helpful than any catalogue description on an online store.
Shopping is also a social activity. Moms taking their daughters to the mall or shoppers meeting up with friends at outlets for an afternoon of shopping are shopping practices that simply can’t be replicated online.
Lastly, there is a civic component to buying at brick-and-mortar stores. Especially if you frequent locally owned stores, you are helping the local economy. Even when shopping at a chain, you are helping keep your neighbors employed.
Don’t Forget the Cash
You can draw a parallel between brick-and-mortar stores and the use of cash. Predictions over the years that online would overtake in-store shopping echo forecasts of electronic payment overtaking cash. Neither is bound to happen any time soon, though there will be room for both. And as long as brick-and-mortar stores are around, they will need cash drawers and cash management solutions. For more information on cash drawer solutions for your brick and motor store, visit here.