Recent developments in the field of online shopping have generated the general idea that physical stores will be nothing more than an expensive storage or ‘showcase shop’. No doubt we all know some early adapters, who already bought their groceries online at the beginning of the online revolution. Or health fanatics who get their vitamins delivered at their home addresses once a week. But when you consider your own shopping behaviour, how and where are you affected and how does the retailer or brand anticipate?
The consumer is still quite conservative in its shopping behaviour. Although we orientate and compare products and prices online, we often do the actual purchase at a physical store. The number of channels and ways to get information is increasing. However, all these channels provide the same type of information, all aimed at influencing the consumer.
And that is exactly where the problem is. More channels and more information means that consumers are constantly stimulated, both online and offline. The visual identity is one of the few elements that brands can use to stand out and differentiate themselves in a split second.
But how can a brand or retailer make the difference? Create a lifestyle, a lasting memory or an experience and you are well on your way! The majority of consumers buy both online and offline. The expectations are that the number of consumers who only shop online will decrease. Thus making the offline shopping environment, where consumers get their shopping experience, more important. In addition, research shows that 70 to 80 percent of purchase decisions is made in the store.
The retailer of the future combines the power of online and offline. The online environment affects the consumer from inside their own living room. The ‘customer journey’ or ‘brand experience’ that is started online, needs to be strengthened in the offline store to positively influence purchase decisions. The right in-store marketing enhances the effects of out-store and online marketing. Moreover consumers expect a similar (or even better) experience in the store as they have received online.
It is without a question that it is important to offer consumers in the store the same experience as online. The traditional in-store marketing materials such as large visuals, a recognisable decor and music are still useful. Additionally, modern techniques make it possible to offer consumers an even better brand experience. Think of app’s, geo-tracking and environment beacons. Smart affordable applications that can easily be combined with traditional visuals, this is an excellent way to combine the online and offline world and to enhance brand experience.
Conclusion: the consumer decides for himself where, when and how he purchases. Setting up a web shop, for instance, is not necessarily the way to counteract the decline of income and the exodus of stores. Our advice: combine online and offline and make sure your brand perception is a true experience.