Online shopping is crushing the high street’ is almost widely acknowledged as the reality, a concept that is echoed too frequently. But is this an appropriate declaration?
With another big-name shop in trouble every few months, and news of the UK government proposing an ‘Amazon levy’ to level the playing field for smaller stores, a quick look at the sector indicates yes. Although the effect of the internet on the high street is not all negative, even in the UK, with the highest proportion of online shopping of any major developed economy.
‘Showrooming’ is the major challenge to brick-and-mortar stores in the conventional narrative of physical versus online shopping.
This is the propensity of shoppers to visit physical retailers to investigate a product before going home and seeking a cheaper online price, or even pulling out their phone and buying from an internet shop, right there in the supermarket.
The bill of a physical place to please shoppers who probably spend their money elsewhere, clearly showrooming is harmful to high street retailers. Yet the destructive consequence of showrooming is questionable, looking at the bigger picture.
Showrooming is only one type of customer behavior; it appears to be more common in younger customers, and it disproportionately affects some items, with high-value electronic products and furniture more likely to be bought online after offline study. Web Design Dubai is an expert in web design services.
Webrooming vs Showrooming
‘Webrooming’ is the flipside of showrooming. Webrooming, also known as ‘internet testing, offline buying’ or ROPO, is a trend in which customers digitally try out a product before picking it up at a physical store.
A study by Deloitte illustrates the concept of webrooming, noting that shoppers who browse on mobile devices for in-store items are more likely to shop from a physical store, not fewer. In 2016, Google reported that before shopping offline, 82 percent of shoppers scan their phones to test items.
Webrooming is good news for physical stores, as a form of counter-showrooming. There’s no question, however, that internet purchases will begin to chew up the high street. In this sense, striking the right balance between online and offline remains crucial for retailers.
How to handle the physical and online balance?
A multichannel approach is crucial if that wasn’t already clear. As long as clients still have the opportunity to purchase on their terms, an organization may sell exclusively offline or online. Multichannel marketers can focus on both showrooming and webrooming, but they need to consider that buyers prefer either shopping style to do this.
For instance, with showrooming, consumers are drawn to the tactility of a physical product inspection, paired with the cheaper costs and convenience of shopping.
It is not appropriate to undercut online vendors outside of price-matching systems, but shopping offline typically means no shipping fee, and multichannel stores will have a better in-store experience alongside the flexibility of an e-commerce website.
This involves delivering services such as tapping and collecting, with some customers finding it more pleasant than arranging for shipping and sitting around at home to pick up a product at a store location. Similarly, by showcasing in-store stock inventory online, stores can help shoppers deter confusion. In these cases, an intuitive platform or smartphone app may be incredibly helpful.
Customers are drawn by a real destination to visit, real goods to see, and real people to chat to in both showrooming and webrooming situations. With supportive, competent employees, and the encouragement that there is still a place for clients to go if something goes wrong, physical stores will optimize this benefit.
Retail offline: not gone, but changing
What’s obvious is that the high street is not so much destroyed by internet retail as compelled to adapt. Customer experience is almost everything, and conventional retailers need to evolve and adapt the new technologies
The next wave of retail technologies will not be confined to either internet stores or physical sites, from online VR environments to autonomous in-store assistants.
Inevitably, shoppers also love the atmosphere of shopping in a physical store as much as they enjoy browsing online-and there will still be plenty to sell whether they are showrooming, webrooming, or simply plain old-fashioned bargain-hunting, forward-looking, multichannel stores. Dubai Web Design can help you with web design services.