Offline Shops in the Age of Online Consumerism


Advancements made with technology have made the world more accessible with a click of the mouse. These days, consumers are spending more and more time online, browsing and reviewing thousands of items, and then making purchases from the comfort of their own homes.

This development has created what is known to be The Amazon Effect. Named after one of the leading e-commerce sites, it refers to the impact the digital marketplace has on the traditional brick-and-mortar business model. Amazon, of course, is not the only one.

Smaller businesses have also taken to online selling in order to reach a wider audience. These businesses have made it possible for consumers all over the world to purchase items that local shops do not necessarily carry, be it skincare products like Dear Klairs from Korea or clothing from Rakuten in Japan. Moreover, most of these businesses offer free shipping with a minimum purchase, drawing more customers in.

But to what extent does The Amazon Effect influence the traditional face-to-face shopping experience? Well, it has been reported that in 2017, over 9,400 retail stores closed. Macy’s, a huge department store in the United States, closed 100 out of its 728 shops in the same year. On the other hand, much is expected of the shops that are able to continue operating due to the customers still coming in.

Since online shopping has revised shopping behavior, consumers now expect a wide range of items to choose from, and even the option to compare prices. Consequently, as online consumerism continues to progress, physical stores will have a much more difficult time competing with them. How then can traditional retailers counter The Amazon Effect?

Employ Cross-Channel Technique

Cross-channel retailing refers to the approach of utilizing several different channels to complete the same purchase. The main objective of this is to satisfy the customers’ need for a timely and flexible shopping experience.

The concept can be applied in a multitude of ways to innovate the face-to-face shopping experience. Businesses like Nordstrom have utilized their brick-and-mortar sites by having them support the online component of their shop. This allows the customers to make their purchases online while giving them the opportunity to return these purchases within the provided time.

Additionally, cross-channel retailing also allows customers to try out items such as clothing or makeup in physical stores before they can make their purchases with their phones. This technique not only makes it convenient for the customers, but it also lessens long wait times in order to make purchases.

Try Experiential Retail

While it is understood that most consumers prefer online shopping due to convenience, there are still plenty of people who like going to brick-and-mortar locations for a more physical experience. They want to see what the item offers beyond words on the screen and be able to test some out.

Retailers need to understand the importance of tailoring an interactive shopping experience that is pleasant, memorable, and appeals to all five senses. Doing so requires a complex understanding of the customers’ shopping endeavors, which can also be integrated into marketing strategies across all channels.

In order for offline retailing to cope in the extremely competitive, vast, digital marketplace, it needs to be able to adapt to the customers’ needs and wants by offering services that online shops cannot.

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