Are physical stores doomed to disappear?

Par Sébastien Bégel, Directeur de Projet E-Commerce SQLI

With the interruption of connected commerce in our daily lives, many people believed that consumers would abandon the physical store in favor of e-commerce or e-commerce (Websites, apps, social and direct shopping, etc.).

The healthy context has significantly speeded up the process: sales of products online increased by 44% between 2019 and 2021, but it is clear that Resist ‘offline’ commerce. And it still accounts for a very large share of retail, at 85%.

However, this dominant position in purchasing practices has been shaken by the rise of connected uses, creating standardized pathways between store and digital devices, with the aim of finally To serve only one need, which is the customer’s need.

The latter finds more and more profits there, thus attaching himself to this companyStandardization of trade between channels we And the turning offwhose borders are becoming increasingly porous.

Two strategies for digital integration at the heart of the point of sale

The store is certainly a place to buy, but it is not limited to this aspect alone.

By integrating digital into customer journeys, stores tend to be experiential places that change shopping styles and play with consumers’ senses, giving them an experience that only the web interface of a mobile or desktop screen can promise them.

At this stage, The first strategy consists of integrating digital solutions to respond to marketing challenges that affect customer sentiment, well-being and reassurance.

He is thus challenged on a smooth journey to immerse him in the brand experience, without a transactional goal or instant conversion.

The QR Code On the products to consult with customers’ opinions or detailed information, the Connecting mirrors for fixtures, interactive stations To access a product catalog and place an order from a store when a product is out of stock are examples of practices that showcase physical products and give them a new dimension.

The second strategy is to rely on technology to connect the customer with the brand, both in the acquisition phase and in the retention phase.

Support from trained salespeople to help customize products on standard interfaces Seller Tabletis a famous example.

With this type of device, the retailer has tools to collect basic information about the customer or potential customer and, de facto, Better meet their expectations when interacting with the brand via a store salesperson or, where appropriate, customer service.

Articulated about these methods for Consolidated data, between data from a customer’s web journeys and that collected in their physical experienceThis approach opens up interesting prospects for the retailer who can improve and personalize their advice.

Reinventing physical commerce to better meet consumer expectations

The progress of physical trade today, and from the top priorities In the post-COVID era, there are many digital levers to bring back the magic and make the customer’s life easier.

Illustrated by the use of some, and the continued growth of others, omnichannel practices.

rise of Click and collect or even Shipping from the store (A logistical practice that transforms points of sale into storage and shipping areas that allow quick product delivery) is evidence of this in our daily lives as consumers.

The main sticking point in the customer’s in-store journey remains checkout; Where online commerce erases the idea of ​​queuing and states the need for speed in the transaction.

However, innovations based on the dematerialization of means of payment have emerged to simplify this final step.

for example, Amazon GB spreading its technology just get out »: When entering the store the customer scans his phone or bank card, then the sensors placed in the store detect the contents of his shopping cart and automatically deduct it without going to the checkout.

In addition to implementing these solutions aimed at facilitating purchasing journeys, the physical store can also take hybrid forms that enrich the experience by integrating them with the e-commerce experience.

This is for example a case show roomIt is located halfway between physical commerce and online commerce. It is a place of exposure where the customer can discover and obtain information from sales consultants, to continue purchasing on a website.

However, such a model has limitations that should not be overlooked: the consumer may actually be persuaded to compare the price of the product and decide to purchase it via another electronic retailer that offers a more attractive price.

Whatever the case, by constantly renewing itself, by assuming the e-commerce channel as a complementing partner rather than an internal competitor, the actual selling point has a good many years ahead.

While some predict an impending turmoil with the emergence of metaverseHowever, their use for commercial purposes is not currently in view of the logistical and financial costs that today’s brand integration in this vast virtual world represents…

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