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Everything Old About Retail is New Again



Why You Need to Take Another Look at Brick-and-Mortar

In the age of all things digital, it’s easy to make simplistic distinctions between new (online) and old (offline) business models. E-commerce, mobile commerce, chatbots, interactive voice response — these are all digital shopping innovations. Storefronts, physical inventory, cash payments, humans — that’s the old way of doing business. But more and more, progressive retailers are discovering that old-school brick-and-mortar locations are essential assets that can increase sales for even the most digitally evolved brands.

4 ways a local pick-up option can improve sales

1) Inventory and fulfillment

Everyone knows that product descriptions and peer reviews are important content for both SEO and sales conversions. Shoppers typically visit a variety of websites and apps before making a purchase, and they want to know what other people like (or don’t like) before buying.

You might not realize that clear visibility into available inventory also drives sales. According to a recent survey by e-commerce sales platform Kibo, 77% of shoppers say that seeing the number of items available will influence a purchase decision — and 76% say that having multiple fulfillment options will influence their choice of where to purchase.

2) Payment options

The ability to pay with cash is an often overlooked benefit of brick-and-mortar locations. Cash is still used in 26% of transactions in the U.S., making it second only to debit cards among the most frequently used payment methods. “Cash is alive and well” according to Boston Fed Cash department VP Leah Maurer.

Privacy and reliability are two of the main reasons why consumers choose to use cash over electronic payments or credit cards. It’s also preferred for smaller transactions of items they frequently replenish, the kind they’re likely to make a quick stop to pick up from a local store when they’re in the neighborhood.

3) Same-day pick-up

Big retailers, like Home Depot, have been experiencing an interesting e-commerce phenomenon. Rather than waiting for delivery, some 42% of the retailers online customers prefer to pick up their purchases at a nearby Home Depot store, usually on the same day that the sale is made.

An omnichannel offering like Home Depot’s requires a brick-and-mortar solution where customers can receive their goods, and that can be an expensive proposition for businesses who don't want (or can’t afford) to invest heavily in a network of retail stores.

There are other options available. Local pick-up centers are a new breed of brick-and-mortar that don't require the same level of build-out, management, and staffing expenses as a full-blown retail outlet.

4) Flexible returns

Returns are an increasingly important aspect of an e-commerce business. Just as shoppers expect free shipping with the initial sale, a growing number of customers also expect free shipping for returns. This can put significant pressure on profit margins for all but the largest retailers, especially in hard-to-deliver urban areas.

Like buy-online-pickup-up-in-stores (BOPIS), buy-online-return-in-store (BORIS) is trending with consumers who prefer the convenience of dropping off a return in person. It’s free, it’s easy, and it’s an opportunity to buy something else if that’s what they need.

Think like an omni-channel consumer

The truth is, your customers don’t differentiate between your online and offline channels. They don’t think about “old” vs. “new” commerce. They are looking for quality, price, and convenience, and they’ll buy from you (repeatedly) because they trust the brands you offer and enjoy the shopping experience. That’s because people think like consumers, not retailers: they don’t limit themselves to one channel, they use them all.

Ready for total retail?

Cura Resources Group (CRG) helps online brands build and manage turn-key locations for true omni-channel sales. If you need help with your brick-and-mortar retail strategy, ask me how we can help, or visit us at www.curagroup.com/contact-us.



Topics: omnichannel business