- By Carla Bragagnolo
A recent Retail Dive article asked industry insiders if brick-and-mortar stores were doomed to extinction. The short answer is, no, they are not doomed. A slightly longer answer is that not only is digital not burying physical stores, but it’s actually making them more relevant than ever.
Here’s some proof:
- eMarketer statistics show that even digitally-obsessed millennials prefer the in-store experience
- 93% of all sales are still fulfilled in-store according to US census data.
- Deloitte says that by 2017, 80% of all in-store shopping experiences will involve a digital device
That being said, there is a huge opportunity for retailers to increase their brick-and-mortar sales by building an online to offline (O2O) strategy into their digital marketing mix.
What is O2O?
An online to offline strategy creates a seamless transition for shoppers from digital spaces and devices to in-store and back again. Savvy retailers are starting to take O2O a step further by incentivizing shoppers who may be casually browsing your website to come in-store, or keeping buyers coming back with loyalty programs. Shoppers are relying more and more on their devices as personal assistants while they shop, but the in-store experience is still highly relevant.
Think of your own shopping habits: nothing can replace the experience of touching merchandise, trying it on, and actually seeing how it looks to you. Digital is king when it comes to searching for nearby locations and comparing items, but it can never truly emulate seeing merchandise up close before you make the final decision.
Retailers have to ensure their online and offline strategies are working in tandem. It will be crucial for brands to optimize their local marketing and track online conversions so they can continually improve and learn more about how their customers are finding them.
Digital isn’t going to replace the brick-and-mortar experience, but it is becoming an essential omnichannel element for both shoppers and retailers.
This post is a summary of our O2O whitepaper. To dive deeper into O2O click here.