will e-commerce replace physical stores – Since in-store shopping was the only way to purchase goods, online shopping has become the favorite way of shopping for consumers around the world, clearing up the question of whether ecommerce will replace the physical store. .
Although we know that the data from the pandemic has been exceptional because for many it was the only way to get the necessary products, it seems that the trend will continue in the coming months and years.
According to Kantar , a business panel consultant, in 2020, 3 out of 4 households made purchases online, which is 74.4% compared to 66% in 2017.
E-commerce has been the driver of many of the changes in consumption in the last decade, to such an extent that many wonder if the online channel will ever replace the physical store.
In this week’s article on our technology blog, we make room for this question and we propose solutions to find out whether or not you should continue betting on the physical store.
Mobile devices are blurring the line between online and offline shopping
The greatest impact achieved in the binomial of whether ecommerce will replace the physical store is that it has allowed users to buy from anywhere and at any time. They can buy 24 hours a day from a smartphone, without having to travel.
In addition, they use smartphones for other functions, such as:
- discover new products
- Compare prices and find products near your location
- Create and manage shopping lists
- To manage the orders placed
In other words, they use mobile phones for the same things as if they were in the physical store, thus erasing the border between it and the online store.
If the prospects are so rosy, why are physical stores closing or not offering the same products that are online?
It is possible that at some point you have wondered why physical stores or (bank) branches are closed as a result of the change in user habits.
It is also possible that you have wondered why those products that you do find online are not available in stores.
The physical store must be reinvented, to focus more on a shopping experience than in a store, as was the case in the past.
The first thing to assume is that opening and maintaining a physical store (not to mention a chain store) is expensive and complicated. To the rent must be added the operating and personnel costs, not to mention that the space in the store is limited and will never be able to accommodate all the available stock.
will e-commerce replace physical stores Customers expect more personalized experiences
We cannot deny that online shopping is comfortable. You do not need to leave home and in one click you can buy products that reach your door. However, it can be a frustrating experience. You do not get the immediate reward of receiving the product and you must wait at least one day to receive what you have purchased.
The other side of the coin is that e-commerce has raised customer expectations. They expect more, such as good product tracking, fast delivery, and matching what they’ve seen on the web.
What’s more, according to “ Ecommerce Study: deciphering the consumer’s mind ” carried out by soundcloud, consumers buy online from brands they trust, either because they have already bought offline or because the previous online shopping experience has been satisfactory, which gives you some clues as to whether ecommerce will replace the physical store.
will e-commerce replace physical stores We must not lose sight of the social component of the purchase
Going shopping is not just an activity aimed at covering a need. It is a social activity that fills weekends and entire trips. Is the product the destination? Yes, but also the trip, the experience, the people who accompany us and the good time we can have.
For this reason, we must not forget that shopping is a social activity that has a difficult fit in the digital world.
How can companies replace all these components in the digital world? Creating personalized experiences that include the social component.
Follow these tips to blur the boundaries between the physical and the digital in the shopping experience:
- Use social proof . It is normal to make digital purchases alone, but the user can feel accompanied and advised in many ways. Virtual assistants are one of these forms, and reviews are an element of social proof that we must take very seriously.
- Private passes and loyalty clubs are more alive than ever . More and more brands are joining in creating private passes prior to sales or the launch of new products. The objective is both to promote online shopping and to provide a kind of more complete shopping experience to users as a substitute for the physical store.
Buyers are more informed than ever
If we put numbers on the intention of users to informed and its impact on whether ecommerce will replace the physical store, they are really impressive. Already in 2016, Google reported that 86% of consumers research online before making a purchase .
In addition to reviews, users consult detailed information about products and companies to get all the necessary details before buying online or going to the store.
This information search process has resulted in a better informed consumer, with higher expectations. Companies must work hard to meet these expectations.
Before the digital era, the store was a place where users went to find out information and ask for advice from sellers who could advise them. Today, customers arrive at the store and the online environment with a very clear idea of what they want and the benefits and characteristics of what they are going to buy.
The evolution continues, there is no answer as to whether ecommerce will replace the physical store
Users have ever higher expectations. They want to receive the products as soon as possible and do not want to pay more. That is why ecommerce has become the favorite way to buy in 2021.
Thanks to the internet, users now have access to the information they are looking for, they can access it from different devices and share their experiences with others, which has completely transformed their expectations and the way they buy.
Technology has allowed the economy to not stop in these troubled times and has precipitated changes in purchasing behavior that have come to stay.
If you are looking for a way to take advantage of these changes and clarify whether ecommerce will replace the physical store, do not hesitate to count on the advice of Practics Solutions for your digital transformation project.