The online store has grown immensely over the last few years. This has been accelerated by the global pandemic and online innovations. However, there is still a growing need for the in-store shopping experience. Especially since the world returns to some form of normality.
There are demands on online stores to offer highly personalised experiences but is it the same as face-to-face interaction? According to the Shopify report we covered last week, 32% of brands are expanding their in-person experiences. And as a result of the end of lockdowns, physical retail is making a resurgence.
The online store vs in-store experience
While people can be targeted online, they still can’t feel the clothes and try them on. But with new innovations that may not be a major stumbling block. Brands are now offering live shopping and augmented and virtual reality experiences that are arguably just as good.
However, all of this comes at a time when retail vacancy rates are at their highest. Many stores were forced to close their doors amid lockdowns. Recently, there has been a rise in interest of online brands to take their store into the physical.
Online stores are facing their own struggles with customer acquisition costs at an all-time high. And they don’t look like coming down any time soon. As a result, these brands are considering the pros and cons of having a physical store.
The best possible solution is that online and in-store shopping will merge.
What does this mean?
Online stores can use their innovations to elevate the brick-and-mortar experience. These brands will bring everything they’ve learnt from online to the physical store. And with that, the highly personalised experience customers want will be closer than ever.
This could theoretically include everything from social commerce, AR and VR, and live shopping inside retail stores in malls and online.
It is clear that while there is a slight disconnect at the moment, it may not be an issue anymore. Online and brick-and-mortar stores both have their pros and cons. For brands to be truly successful they would need only to combine the two and continuously learn about what their customers want. In that way, brand loyalty can be entrenched and online stores will be able to retain customers better.