The Continuing Fusion of Bricks and Clicks

Simon Eskow Retail Articles Leave a Comment

Has retail finally dropped the walls between online and physical channels forever? After all, while customers still favor going to the store, they browse more online. What’s more, they expect a seamless shopping experience. Consequently, experts no longer see online commerce as a stand-alone experience retail tags on to their “core” business. And with technology designed to integrate these channels, retailers can fuse bricks and clicks more easily than ever.

Lead With Bricks, Weave the Clicks

If retailers need reasons to mesh their online channels, they have to understand customer behavior. Maybe that’s the reason the National Retail Federation recently launched its quarterly Consumer View report. In fact the picture that emerged from its initial research illustrates the importance of both bricks and clicks. In short, brick-and-mortar appeals to customers acting with a purpose, eCommerce to those just browsing. Retailers need both.

Bricks Suit Purposeful Shopping

Despite tales of a retail apocalypse, the fact remains that consumers do most of their shopping in stores. In fact, according to Consumer View’s survey of 3,000 Americans, they’re doing as much if not more shopping in stores than they did last year. It’s for that reason that NRF’s president said bricks-and-mortar is “still the cornerstone of American retail”.

Consumers, in general, go to stores with a specific purpose in mind. For example, they will want to touch and test the product, and they want to buy something specific. Meanwhile, younger shoppers go for the specific purpose of socializing, exploring and, to a lesser degree, browse products.

Clicks Breed Customer Loyalty

In the bricks and clicks mix, eCommerce fosters customer loyalty. Although 21% of consumers shop mostly online, they remain loyal to a brand more than other consumers. This may be due to the fact that online shoppers tend to do more research. They look for brands that agree with their values. Thus, when they find a brand, they stick to it. What’s more, a multichannel brand that streamlines combined bricks and clicks experience improves customer satisfaction. For example, 66% of customers are most satisfied when they can buy online and pick up in the store.

Tech Binds Bricks and Clicks

Retail’s future appears to be in the fusion of online and physical shopping. Retailers that recognize this stand to win loyalty and sales. However, as they merge the shopping experience, they also have to manage eCommerce and physical channels to fulfill orders without stocking-out. The technology exists to give full, realtime visibility to give perfect order fulfillment to multichannel retailers.

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