Everywhere you look there is another article espousing the benefits of eCommerce. The reasons why are fairly simple to see: eCommerce is impressive in its capabilities, it is growing while physical stores have declining traffic and it lowers costs.
eCommerce has many benefits to consumers and owners. Due to the pace of industry growth in eCommerce, it is predicted that by 2018 eCommerce will reach $414 billion in sales with a growth of 17%. Without the added expense of real estate, the need for less personnel and cost-effective advertising, eCommerce offers tremendous savings that can be passed onto the consumer. There are no geographical restrictions, so alumni or parents can purchase spiritwear from the store no matter where they live. However, one of the best benefits to an eCommerce site is being able to provide comparison shopping. For expensive purchases, like course materials, giving students the tools to compare prices from several different sites provides a better shopping experience and increases their trust in the school.
Consumers have adjusted to having more choices in how they buy. Half of the customers in stores check prices online before they check out, performing their own cost analysis. If they can get it cheaper online, then how much is the instant gratification of having the product immediately worth to them?
A number of successful online brands have opened physical shops — clicks to bricks — to give customers the experience of both worlds, most notably Amazon. However, what these stores are doing differently is they aren’t relying on the traditional retail models. They are bringing technology to the forefront and offering a shopping experience like no other.
Bonobos (an online menswear shop), for example, opened “guideshops” in 2015 and they have already doubled the number of physical locations. Basically, guideshops act as a showroom for clothing. With the help of their guides, you can go in, try clothes on, but you can’t take any of it home. You pick out what you like and place an order on their website, having your purchase shipped directly to your home.
Whereas other online retailers have taken to hosting pop-up shops, which can increase brand awareness, provide a physical shopping experience without long-term leases and generate excitement. These innovative companies have successfully created a place where traditional retail meets online shopping, embracing the best of both worlds. Online traffic and sales are boosted from the exposure to new customers and they fill the need for customers to see the product in person.