Connecting Online and Offline Retail: How to Combine the Benefits of Both Channels [5 Reading Tips]

Hybrid Retail Reading Tips
Source: Pexels/Proxyclick Visitor Management System

Customers are channel hoppers. This makes it all the more important for brands, retailers and manufacturers to act in an omnichannel way. Concepts such as local inventory ads and ship from store bring the benefits of online shopping to brick-and-mortar retail. Showrooming and window shopping 2.0 decouple brick-and-mortar retail from actual transactions. The digitalisation of the stationary point of sale on the one hand and the transfer of analogue virtues to online retail on the other hand are simply expected by customers these days.

Retail Takes Advantage of Synergies Between Online and Offline

There is more to convenience, availability and service – the must-haves for successful retail – than mobile payment in retail stores or digital shopping assistants online. The digitalisation of retail stores does not mean that everyone has to offer digital fitting rooms and virtual mirrors. Inspiration online does not mean that every brand has to rely on influencer marketing. What has to be done both online and offline, however, is to carefully examine customer behaviour because it has changed drastically – especially in the last two years.

Customers no longer play by the rules of traditional brick-and-mortar retail – they make up their own. It is becoming increasingly rare for their customer journey to begin with them opening a shop door – and this journey does not necessarily end where it began. Instead of asking themselves where the widely discussed point of sale of the future is, retailers should start shifting their mindset and focus their strategy on the MOI, the moments of in-between, because that is where customers are and where they buy products – whether offline or online.

Reaching them at the proverbial right moment is an art. This art is mastered by retailers who take advantage of the cost-effective and customer-friendly synergy between offline and online and no longer stoically differentiate between channels.

Retail Is Hybrid and the Point of Sale Is Not a One-Way Street

Regardless of whether customers first search online and then make a purchase offline or whether they first test products in retail stores and then place an order online – retailers should be prepared for every scenario of what is known as the »ROPO effect« (»research online, purchase offline« and vice versa), all the more so because a third ROPO dimension has manifested itself in shopping behaviour as a result of the increased number of mobile purchases: Customers use online and offline channels simultaneously. While they look for the right product in retail stores, they use their smartphone to compare prices and availability offered by marketplaces and online shops as well as other brick-and-mortar stores.

Innovative concepts, especially for »in-between business«, are crucial to success in retail. Synergistic instead of indiscriminate digitalisation is not the only challenge for brick-and-mortar retailers.

Retail Needs New Ideas for »In-Between Business«

Retailers must rethink their range of products, offer variety and make going to the store more enticing with creative offers, especially for walk-in customers. Trends and concepts such as content commerce, data-driven business and retail as a service that make online retail successful are arriving in brick-and-mortar stores. Digital tools that support brick-and-mortar retailers and best practices they can learn from already exist. Those who use them act in the interest of customers, making their business future-proof by doing so.

Benefits of Online Shopping

  • Independence from opening hours
  • Personalisation
  • Wider range of products
  • Shopping as an experience

Benefits of Shopping in Store

  • Immediate availability
  • Possibility to try on and try out products
  • Personal advice
  • Proximity to experts

Commerce is the purchase of a good and selling it at a higher price. This may describe the traditional concept behind commerce and may also be the economic goal in the end, but retailers who think exclusively like this will have a hard time actually selling products. Retailers are well advised to take advantage of the benefits of all channels.

Hybrid Retail for Channel Hoppers: Download the Handelskraft Trend Book 2022 for Free Now!

Handelskraft Trend Book Digital Champions Release

Impress your customers in store with digital offerings – and do the same online with additional brick-and-mortar services. Find out in our Handelskraft Trend Book 2022 »Digital Champions« how you can combine the benefits of online and offline retail with trends such as local inventory ads, ship from store and showrooming. Fill out the form now and receive a free copy in your inbox!

Our 5 Reading Tips of the Week

Retail and the Rising Demand for Hybrid Shopping Experiences [Vodafone Business]

The Hybrid Retail Economy: Bridging the Gap Between In-Store and Digital [Hotwire]

Retail: How a Hybrid of Online and Physical Stores Is Proving a Success [Shares]

The Future of Shopping: Transforming Retail with Five Types of Technology [Because Experiential Marketing]

Ship from Store: From Delivery Innovation to Long-Term Competitive Advantage [Handelskraft]

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