Online Vs Offline Retail: Why Brands Need To Bridge The Gap and Deliver Best Experience To Customers

Shopping showcases ecstatic emotions which demand satisfaction and worth. We all love the thought of making our buying easy and comforting by being in our comfort zone as well as investing our blood and sweat earned money in a product which will provide us worth of every penny. For this Indian retail sector went through quite a revolution in recent years which resulted in consumers having enormous numbers of options available to shop for a product from brick and mortar to e-tail, click and collect, direct selling, vending machines and many more.

A Supermarket Store With Shopping Cart

Despite of all these enormous options available in the market the question which still gets unanswered is Online vs Offline retail stores.  Which one is more efficient and competent? Which one will gain more popularity in the near future? And many more questions still lingers around.

We all would remember the time when we had to hop in the brand store to shop for the product, roaming around confusingly and screwing up our minds with the inexperienced salesperson to get every available information about the product and to be satisfied fully before buying it. It is when the e-tail market stepped in and took all the limelight away from brick and mortar. It was the time when these retailers had to suffer a huge loss because of the increasing numbers of consumers moving towards the virtual shopping options. To stick in the market competitively and boldly the physical retail stores bridged digital interactions with new innovative technologies.

Let us go through some of the features that the modern era physical retail stores provide us:

Customer experiencing shopping in offline retail
  • What if the customer is not satisfied with the product and wants to have a close glance of it and want to feel the texture as well? Here comes the first edging point for physical stores. They provide consumers to have a close up of the product and can even try them on with the given facility of trials rooms available.
  • What makes a consumer more than happy while shopping? It’s obviously bargaining! Now here the brick and mortar stores jeopardize the virtual ones. Physical stores allow their consumers to bargain over the product to an extent whereas it can’t be available in online shopping. Though they provide discounts on products but what we gets easily is worth not enjoying right!
  • The online shopping concept flourished in the Indian markets because the physical brand stores were located in the extreme of the areas because of which a consumer had to think twice to visit it but now to make it easy for the buyers retailers went to location based quick fix. Now the retail stores are located in convenient places where the consumers can visit effortlessly and many brands have different numbers of branches in a single city according to the suitability of the consumers.
  • Do we all get the products and services which we want right and accurate at first instance only? Not always right. This also happens in the offline mode of shopping. Sometimes we buy the product thinking it would be perfect for us but till we reach home we tend to switch our mind. As a solution for this the stores provides the consumers to return the product within the specific period of time without any hesitation and chaos.
  • Also, after the online success, we have observed that now global brands are moving to the physical world via offline stores. To name a few, companies like US sportswear brand Under Armour, Italy’s jeans brand Replay and Roadster (Myntra’s private label brand) have come up with their first offline stores in India.

Though the online mode also provide this benefit but who would like to wait to get the product returned in 2-3 days and then reordering the new one and then again getting it in 4-5 days, even the thought of this is tiring!

Use SkippQ Self-Checkout app to avoid long queues while shopping
  • ‘Queue’ is one word which hardly anybody loves to hear about and even want to experience it. Earlier Physical shopping stores made consumers went through the same condition. Consumers had to wait in a long queue to get the bill cleared and even to buy product and services during heavy sales or to get the detailed description about it. But with the use of innovative ideas they came up with vending machines, kiosk system and queue management systems.  Vending machines is an automated machines which dispenses certain articles like food, drinks, snacks, cigarettes etc. when a coin or token is inserted. It provides convenience to the consumers by giving the ability to purchase products quickly with no lines and Kiosk enable customers information about the company, product lookup, non- stock product order etc. SkippQ is one of the self-checkout apps that we developed for faster and seamless checkout experience without waiting in long queues. You can surely give a try to skip long queues while shopping.

In recent years online shopping industry has exploded and has been appealing to the customers needless to say because of the features that it provides. Let us walk through some of them:

Online Retail Transformation
  • Virtual shopping sites offer a wide variety of products and in a different price range. Consumers belonging to different income levels can view and purchase products and services according to their capacity whereas highly branded physical stores provide products and services for generally high-income level consumers because of the high prices they offer.
  • What if you are getting bored on lazy Saturday night and have nothing to buzz on so you want to look for dresses which you will need for an event a few days after? You obviously cannot visit a store at night but can visit a virtual store whenever you intend to. It is open 24*7. The buyer can shop the product from any site across the world anytime.
  • It uses CFE (collaborative filtering engine) which help the online retailers to know about the customer’s previous purchases, products in carts, and in return also suggest the products the customer might like.  It makes the buyer experience all the better and can end up customers buying various products which suits their preferences. Analytics study of consumer behaviour is the main thing to focus on for the online retailing sites.
  • Online shopping saw its greatest hike during the time of demonetisation when almost all the consumers left with no cash in hand. The business grew at a rapid speed because of the different online payment channels and technologies it provided to the buyers.  A consumer can pay off the bills for the product and services they purchased through a different mode of payments online available like debit and credit card system, online banking transactions, wallets available with the sites, and through other digital wallets companies like rupay, paytm etc.

Both the mode of shopping have their own pros and cons it just depends on the consumers knowledge and acceptance to the new and existing services available in both the markets. Retailers in both the retail systems have to build stronger bridges to blur the lines of gaps with innovative ideas and newer and bolder challenges to delight customers.

See how AIMagnifi is bridging the gap between online and offline retail through their intelligent omnichannel retail solutions.

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