Consumers shop in brick & mortar stores not only to buy but to to have fun — to have an entertaining experience even if they don't buy. With online purchasing the tactile 'experience' doesn't exist. Does the convenience and safety (no personal contact) of digital purchasing outweigh the fun of in-store shopping?
Before we answer that, let's delve into the next big development in consumer purchasing. Enter the new digital shopping experience, which will be advanced by Netflix, Disney, Apple, Amazon, and other content streamers in the near future.
How Digital Shopping Works
Netflix, for example, will use the time-code data it has in every one of its productions and connect it with AI driven 'shopping functionality' for merchandize pictured in every on-screen scene. Viewers wishing to purchase a 'viewed product' would simply click on that item. The chosen product's information would be sent to a second screen (smartphone) to complete the purchase transaction.
This new development, I call it "pick n' click purchasing" has already had proof of concept testing. Amazon could even suggest alternatives from its own brands or other items that "viewers like you" previously purchased.
Back to the Question
New let’s answer the question of whether digital shopping outweighs the fun of in-store shopping? Granted, 'pick n' click' still doesn't deliver on the experiential aspects of in-store shopping but its impulse advantage will be an additional factor for retail to overcome.
What Retail Needs To Do To Compete
To combat 'pick n' click', retail must innovate and personalize the shopping experience through great 'customer experience' or CX.
First, they must use the treasure of their customers data, as streaming platforms use viewers' data.
- Being in constant contact with customers
- Answering questions
- Introducing new products
- Holding in-store shows and demos
- Conducting 'live' video chats on products tied into in-store only promotions
- Holding virtual classes using manufacturers' representatives.
Second, having as broad a roster of conveniences as possible. Ease of delivery, pick-up, home installation, a cadre of positive CX drivers.
Third, and most important, have courteous and knowledgeable staff. This is big advantage for retail. The benefit of having a well trained and skilled sales associate cannot be stressed enough. The number one reason consumers leave businesses is due to poor customer service.
The purchasing experience is constantly evolving. In the future, online shopping will be simply a click on a selected product in a movie. For retail it will all be tied to offering a great CX experience.