Will technology take over the shopping industry’s brick and mortar stores?
There are pros and cons to both forms of shopping, of course. For most online shoppers, the appeal is cost savings, broader selection, immediacy and convenience. You don’t have to find parking at the mall, you don’t need to leave the house, and you don’t need to even get dressed in the morning, which is great if you’re into nude shopping.
In-store shoppers enjoy the face-to-face interaction, instant gratification of carrying the goods out of the store in their hands, and the satisfying experience of being able to physically interact with the product. 51% of in-store shoppers say being able to see and feel the product was their main reason for shopping in-store.
Will these in-store shoppers become exceptions to the rule? What if you’re purchasing the same product that you’ve previously bought in-store before? Do you really need to see and touch it again to ensure it’s worth buying? Or, are you willing to just order online this time and save yourself the time and gas it takes to get to the mall?
What if an online shopper was looking for a set of tools? Or new sunglasses? Would they still purchase online without being able to feel the tools or try the sunglasses on?
Although the majority of online shoppers say that cost-savings is the main reason why they shop online, exceptions will be made, and rightfully so. Here are a few good ones:
1. When there is a shipping cost that essentially cancels out any savings.
2. When you need to ensure the sizing (the right fit).
3. When it’s cheaper to go there (walk-in specials).
4. Returns or exchanges are “instant”, and can be done with less hassle.
5. When you are already at the store for some other reason, or live very close to it.
The best approach would be a hybrid solution. Start with online searches, in order to do your research (most brick and mortar companies will have websites with their prices listed). Which is cheaper? Can you wait a few days for delivery or do you need it right away? Do you need to pay in cash? Is it hard to see details in the photos? Is the store 60 km away and too far to drive to? If you measure all these options, it will be easier to make your decision. Still, regardless of all the benefits of online shopping, with an endless amount of variables, brick and mortar businesses will never fully die.