Whilst having my usual hunt around the web for retail information I came across this great post on The Retail Blogger by Tony Bryant
“The internet will kill the high street.” How many times have we heard that? In reality, the growth of ecommerce is doing anything but wiping out the high street.
The YouGov, Future of Online Retail Report found that only 41% of shoppers are completely happy to buy online.
And when it comes to our day-to-day shopping, the high street is still winning. PwC’s Total Retail 2015 report found that across the world, nearly 40% of consumers make a purchase in store at least once a week, whereas just 27% of consumers make an online purchase once a week.
So, why are physical stores still leading the way?
1. Shoppers still want to see products in person
Pictured above: suits on display in store – Image by Elvert Barnes
While ecommerce sites may offer beautiful, high-definition images of products, you still can’t beat picking them up for yourself in store.
Whether this means trying on a suit or seeing how a new gadget works, it’s hard to be sure about a product until you’ve seen it for yourself.
2. Delivery concerns
Pictured above: the dreaded “Sorry, you were out card” – Image by theedinburghblog
It’s no coincidence that many of the top online retailers offer services like nominated day delivery, or an outstanding click & collect experience.
Many consumers are put off online shopping with concerns about having to make that dreaded trip to the post office to collect their parcel, or having to wait in all day to sign for it.
That’s why click and collect is so popular. It’s not only convenient but it makes customers feel in control again.
3. Security concerns
Pictured above: security concerns with online shopping – image by perspec_photo88
While online shopping is fairly standard, many consumers still have concerns around security online and prefer to pay in store.
But this doesn’t mean they aren’t browsing online – in many ways, the internet can be the ultimate window shopping experience.
When you think about the panic over showrooming several years ago, it’s interesting to see that it now works both ways. According to the PwC 2015 report above, the split between those who browse online and then buy in store and those who browse in store and buy online is very much the same.
4. The social experience of in store shopping
Pictured above: the social nature of shopping on the high street – image by tejvanphotos
We’re social creatures. Shopping alone in your home is never going to compare to a day out with friends or family on the high street.
In many ways, ecommerce could never kill the high street because people like shopping.
The popularity of in-store has even led to ecommerce giants like Amazon laying down foundations for bricks & mortar stores.
With so much talk of in store vs online shopping, what’s often missed is that a clever blend of the two is best.
As we’ve all adjusted to the digital world, it’s become clear that online doesn’t replace real experiences, but enhances them.
The same goes for shopping – whether it’s click & collect or online browsing research for an in-store purchase, our online experiences add something to traditional bricks & mortar shopping.
Make sure you get this experience right. Take a look at how we can help you deliver a great multi-channel experience, combining the brick & mortar shopping consumers love with the convenience and choice of online shopping. Browse our whitepapers for more information.
What do you think the future has in store for the high street? Share your thoughts below.
Featured image by Numinosity (Gary J Wood)