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In our most recent webinar, we discussed the sustainability of the brick-and-mortar store. What we found out is that stores are not going anywhere fast and the digital channel, if anything, can only help increase in-store foot traffic. There is definitely an increasing demand for the digital experience as technology expands and capabilities grow but despite the growing rise of mobile and tablets, apps and websites are still trailing behind stores and in-store technology as primary channels for consumer purchases.
A recent new study only strengthens that statement with the results showing the consumers still prefer the in-store experience – at least for now. In the study conducted by ORC International, results showed that 72% chose the traditional in-store experiences as more important for purchases (the highest percentage out of channels and locations that were studied. These participants also indicated that in-store technology (kiosks, virtual dressing room, etc), were very important when purchasing an item.
There has to be a reason to go to a store, people still want people, they still want the experience but they expect it to be more than average. We intuitively, or historically anyway, think about an online presence as an extension of marketing and advertising to drive store traffic down a one way street. Of course, that is major use case for an online presence. But the reverse is also true: 2/3rds of customers who make online purchases actually use the store before or after the transaction – for research, testing a shoe size, making a return and so on. Digital and physical stores BOTH matter. Both channels need to deliver on what they can while still supporting one another.
Sephora is a great example of a company that understands both the digital and physical elements of retail and the importance of it in this day and age. One can find all of their products online for research and purchase, they provide information on store events, as well as online tips for different beauty products. When you walk into a Sephora store, it is like an adult playground – you can touch and feel the products, you can sit down at a make-up bar and experiment with different products, make-artists can provide beauty makeovers, you can visit a kiosk, receive in-store notifications on your phone, etc. They take the “average” consumer shopping experience and turn it into something innovative and special. Authentic experiences still play a major role in the way in the shopper’s journey when purchasing products. Shopping is still a human need and retailers have to be bold and innovative to include digital channels in their omni-channel strategies.
Watch our webinar: Driving Store Traffic in a Digital Age to learn more on the importance of having an omnichannel strategy to drive sales (in-store and out)!!
 Source: http://www.orcinternational.com/
 Source: Verden Group/Wharton
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