With so many devices now opening up portals for consumers to interact with businesses in different ways, it looks like a scary time for brick and mortar shops. Purchases are now as simple to make as the tap of a phone screen, leaving many shop owners wondering if they should begin packing up their shops and moving to a purely digital realm. However, data is showing a much different reality.
E-commerce is not the (only) Future
Since 1995, the retail market has been altering itself to fit the capabilities of the internet and the desires of the consumer. It used to be there was only one channel a customer could interact with a brand through – the brick and mortar shop. Come the late 2000s, different customers were shopping in shop while other shoppers were doing everything online. This then evolved into the current state where all shoppers are now using a variety of channels to do business with their preferred brand. Because so many of these channels in the omnichannel system are online, brick and mortar shops have become wary of their position in the retail market.
Luckily, this trepidation is unfounded. In 2013 alone, brick and mortar shops accounted for a full 90% of all purchases made in the US, and this trend is expected to continue through next year. This proves that the fear of a complete e-commerce takeover is exaggerated.
At the same time, however, it would be naive to underestimate the power of e-commerce. Its continued growth shows that there is a substantial market for online retail. Yet, even with this ease of online purchasing, customers still seek validation of the worth of a product by getting to handle it themselves prior to paying for it.
Adaptation is Key
In the end, it’s the failure to adapt that leads to the death of a brand, not a brick and mortar shop. Just look at Disney. They run theme parks – brick and mortar locations that take far more money to keep in business than any one shop, and they are thriving. This is because of their success in mastering the omnichannel approach to business. From their mobile applications to their Magic Bands, everything engages the customers and promotes a mutually beneficial relationship between the two parties, resulting in a golden era for the brand.
While the prospects of omnichannel marketing are virtually limitless, there are basic rules to stick to as a way to ensure success:
- Don’t let money control your decisions. Refrain from using customer information to cash out on ad revenue.
- Embrace new technologies and business opportunities even if they make you leave your business “comfort zone”.
Only by revering these tenets can you be sure your growth into an omnichannel way of doing business is one that fosters further strong relationships whether you’re interacting with your audience online or in person.