Photo by Darren Clarke, Downtown Thorold, Ontario
In an age where online giants like Amazon are heralded as the future, traditional brick and mortar businesses are far from obsolete. With evolving customer preferences, retailers are blending their physical and online presences, aiming for a seamless, unified customer experience.There is, however, a needed harmonization of two worlds, understanding the importance of omnichannel marketing, the rise of 'showrooming', and learning from the champions who've brilliantly bridged the divide.

Omnichannel Marketing: No Longer an Option, but a Necessity

The retail world has seen a significant shift. With the digital world at our fingertips, customers no longer follow a linear buying journey. A consumer might research a product online, seek reviews on social media, and then choose to experience it physically in-store before making a purchase.

Omnichannel marketing recognizes this fluid consumer behavior. It seeks to provide a cohesive experience across all channels – be it mobile apps, websites, social media, or physical stores. The objective is simple: be where your customers are and provide consistent, tailored experiences across all touchpoints.

This strategy not only caters to the convenience of the customer but also increases brand loyalty and drives sales. A study by the Harvard Business Review found that omnichannel customers spend 4% more in-store and 10% more online than single-channel customers.

Successful Retailer Spotlight: The Case of Nordstrom

A great case study showcasing the power of omnichannel is Nordstrom, the upscale fashion retailer. Their approach? Seamless integration. Customers can browse their collection online, check item availability in-store, reserve it, and then try it on physically. They also introduced mobile checkout points and enabled online returns in-store. These strategies create a smooth transition between online browsing and in-store shopping.

The Rise of 'Showrooming'

'Showrooming' is an emerging trend where customers visit a physical store to check out products but end up buying them online, often at a lower price. This behavior could be a thorn in the side for traditional retailers. However, some innovative businesses have turned this trend to their advantage.

Best Buy, for instance, initiated a price match policy, ensuring that they would match prices from major online competitors. They also strengthened their online presence, offering reviews, detailed product information, and an easy checkout process. This approach not only retains customers but also harmonizes the online and in-store experience.

Leverage The Best of Both Worlds

The juxtaposition of brick & mortar stores with online platforms isn't about competition but collaboration. By integrating the tactile experience of in-store shopping with the convenience of online platforms, retailers can provide a holistic, harmonized shopping experience for the modern consumer.

In the age of technology, it's the human touch, coupled with digital convenience, that will drive the future of retail. The blend of physical and digital is not just the future; it's the present. And those who can master this harmony will lead the retail renaissance.

Back To Top