When it comes to retail, the landscape is ever-evolving. The entry of eCommerce has changed the way that people shop. However, even though online shopping is growing, people still like the customer experience that shopping in a brick and mortar store provides. As a business owner, balancing brick and mortar with e-commerce is more important than ever before. Offering both of these experiences to your consumer is the best way to stay in business for the long haul.
Balancing Brick and Mortar with E-Commerce Today
Brands have been striving to create an in-person store experience that is one for their consumers to remember. From merchandising and facility management, in-store shopping was looking for ways to reinvent itself in order to be even more appealing to the masses. The pandemic hitting has caused a shift in this dynamic. Many think that brick and mortar businesses are on their way out. However, the fact is that there will always be a need for brick and mortar stores.
A Balancing Act
Ecommerce provides consumers with a convenient way to shop. One of the biggest issues for consumers with shopping online is the fact that they have to wait for the delivery of their items. Instant gratification is a strong force, which is one of the reasons that brick and mortar stores remain the most popular way to shop. With the pandemic, there was a growing need to provide consumers with a way to shop without being around as many people, thus the growth of the buy online and pick up in-store. This model allows people to get the instant gratification of their purchase that they desire, without having to spend a lot of time in the store.
The buy online and pick up the same day in-store was available before the pandemic. However, before COVID retailers were mainly using this shopping method as a way to drive business to their brick and mortar retail stores. In order to maximize the possibility of more purchases while in the store, many retailers would place the pick-up location in the very back of the store. This would force consumers to walk through the entire store before reaching their destination and picking up their products.
When it comes to balancing e-Commerce and brick and mortar, order online, pick up in-store is what is truly bridging the gap. People still have the luxury of buying items while still in their pajamas while also going to the store to get what they purchased on the same day. The way stores are offering this feature has changed recently as well. Pick up is now in the front of most stores and in some cases, a person will deliver your products to your car so that you do not have to enter the store at all. This will likely change once the worst of the pandemic is over. For now, people are still being careful and retailers are acknowledging the needs and desires of their consumers.
In the past, stores developed merchandising strategies that aimed to keep shoppers in stores for as long as possible. After all, the more time a person is in the store the more likely they are to buy more things. However, merchandising has to keep up with the times and now people want to be in and out of stores. Reconfiguring the store to enable quicker brick and mortar shopping experiences is going to be key for the foreseeable future as this is what consumers are looking for.
Consumers are now also looking for cleanliness and safety, so it is important to build that perception with them. Offering sanitation stations at the entrance and throughout the store is important. Visible, scheduled cleanings are also important.
Improving Online Experiences
In order to maintain the balance of eCommerce and brick and mortar options, it is important to also make sure that websites and mobile apps are up to date. Businesses that are not doing this are missing out on many great opportunities to improve customer satisfaction. Consumers are looking for better and safe ways to shop. It is important to make sure that both of these things are being provided by your business.
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