In the past few years, the ways in which people choose to shop have changed significantly. More and more consumers are opting to go local rather than online when it comes to buying products or services. While this can be attributed to a number of different factors, one of the most prominent is the convenience of online shopping. There is a wealth of information available online and, for those consumers who want to learn more about a product before purchasing it, there is also the ability to do so online. Local shopping, on the other hand, often involves a face-to-face interaction between the buyer and seller. Due to this increase in the demand for local shopping, entrepreneurs have sprung up to provide a physical store experience online. However, have the offline and online retailers adapted to the times and, more importantly, changed or will change the game for good?
The Rise In Online Shopping
If somebody paid close attention to the retail scene over the past few years, they would see one overarching theme: the shift to online shopping. In fact, according to Pareto Analytics, online retail sales were only worth about 10% of all retail sales as of 2016. This represents an astonishing shift in how people get their stuff. Once considered a luxury good, shopping for clothes online became so popular that even Sears Holdings, Inc., the third-largest mall retailer in the U.S., filed for bankruptcy in October 2018.
With the rise of e-commerce, consumers gained access to a vast array of products and brands, at the click of a button. This explosion of choice often left shoppers paralyzed by indecision, forcing them to click on multiple ads or drop-shifts just to find something affordable. To solve this, entrepreneurs have emerged to help shoppers navigate this digital landscape by bringing the luxury of choice offline. For instance, Blue Nile aims to connect customers with the world’s finest jewels and diamonds while also delivering them to the customers’ door for the utmost in luxury and convenience.
The Rise Of Concierge Retail
The increase in online shopping doesn’t mean that all retail is heading toward a complete digital transformation. In fact, some entrepreneurs have seen the potential for luxury retail in a brick-and-mortar store and are taking steps to capitalize on it. Concierge retail is a strategy that combines online and offline shopping to provide customers with an enhanced experience. Essentially, concierge retailers create a digital concierge service that enables customers to shop for premium brands online and have them delivered in a branded retail box.
Concierge retailers are taking advantage of the fact that people crave luxury experiences even when shopping online. According to HubSpot Blogs, 80% of consumers would prefer to purchase luxury brands online because of the enhanced in-store experience they get from visiting a physical store. Concierge retailers bring the luxury of choice and the element of surprise into a store, enabling customers to stumble upon luxury items they might not have seen online. Alternatively, customers can have products delivered to their homes in branded packaging for a luxury experience they couldn’t get online.
Why Is It Important To Shop In Person?
The increase in e-commerce has undoubtedly shifted the way we shop for almost everything. For those who care about the products they buy and the services they use, it is important to keep in mind that there is a difference between shopping online and shopping locally. While there is certainly an element of convenience to online shopping, customers who choose to purchase goods or services online often do so because they prefer to avoid crowds and be anonymous when making their purchase.
According to a 2016 study published in the Journal of Consumer Research, when it comes to in-person shopping, people make more rational choices, consider the cost-benefit ratio, and are less likely to be influenced by advertising or social media when it comes down to buying a product.
In short, when it comes to buying clothes, shoes, and jewelry online, we are seeing a consumer shift led By technology. However, when it comes to buying food, drink, and travel essentials, people are still turning to traditional retail stores.