The two sides of commerce
2020 launched the entire world into chaos and we have all watched how the two sides of commerce, online and brick and mortar, have changed - a lot. Consumer spending on Amazon between May and July 2020 was up 60% from the same period in 2019, according to data firm Facteus, while brick and mortar doors are closing and their sales are slipping. As shoppers stay home and order online, retailers are making swift changes and implementing options that draw shoppers into their shops for an in store experience not available online. In 2021, a variety of options are available that cater to an ideal experience, ranging from the product tangibility of visiting a brick and mortar store to the digital convenience of online shopping. Today’s retailers are innovating with new retail technology that offers the best of both worlds.
The digital revolution
Online shopping has seen a rise in popularity with eCommerce sales growing by 30% in 2020. With social distancing and more time spent at home, many people prefer online shopping. However, even with all its advantages, online shopping leaves consumers wanting better shopping experiences.
Why shoppers love online shopping
- Online ordering and shopping is a safe option for customers who want to stay home. When stay-at-home orders were first announced in 2020, online ordering and shopping became the most viable option for customers. Many cannabis dispensaries pivoted to e-commerce and saw increases in their sales despite the pandemic.
- Online shopping offers convenience for both retailers and shoppers. Online retailers can take advantage of a large supply and a 24/7 shopping window, and shoppers love the convenience of stocking up on products and filling their carts without employee interaction.
- Customers enjoy learning about products at their own pace via the sources they trust, whether they turn to social media, reviews, or friends’ opinions.
Why customers are frustrated with online shopping
- Unexpected delays in shipping and packages that arrive damaged or never arrive at all lead to dissatisfied consumers.
- High shipping costs are the #1 reason for cart abandonment.
- Beyond the frustrations of delayed product arrivals, shoppers miss the tangibility and experience of seeing products in person.
- Online shopping creates more waste and a higher carbon footprint, especially if items are returned.
- Customers who want to “shop small” are experiencing a harder time finding online shopping options that don’t take away their local businesses’ profits, making it difficult for them to survive amidst the pandemic.
Alexa, why do people shop online?
For many consumers, online shopping is their go-to option because it feels all-encompassing. Whether they see algorithm-suggested products while they scroll through social media or they simply ask Alexa to make a purchase, online shopping feels like “at-home” shopping. With a large inventory of products at their fingertips, online shoppers can order anything they want. The major downside? They’ll need to wait for products to be shipped. While some shoppers find this wait annoying, others actually experience a bit of an adrenaline rush thanks to the endowment effect, a cognitive bias for consumers who value something they already own more than something they don’t. When someone purchases a product, they start to experience a sense of ownership and excitement. Online shopping has become an extension of daily living, and even as restrictions are lifted, shoppers are planning to continue shopping online.
The popularity of traditional retail shopping
Brick and mortar stores have long been the popular choice for shoppers, and with a focus on experiential retail, stores can continue to draw customers in. Many consumers see shopping as a chance to relax as they spend time browsing the store. However, despite the longstanding popularity of the brick and mortar store, traditional retail locations can hold disadvantages for shoppers. It’s important for retailers to look at in store experience examples to see what customers look for when they shop in person.
Advantages of retail shopping
- Consumers love the tangibility of viewing products in stores. Plus, visiting a traditional store gives shoppers the chance to learn more about products from employees and from display cases.
- Customers are much more likely to add new products to their cart as they browse the store (meaning more profit and a better bottom line). Consumers actually spend more money while in-store shopping than they do from browsing online.
- While some shoppers love the hit of adrenaline upon realizing there’s a package at the door, there’s also hesitancy with reports of package piracy on the rise. No shipping delays mean that shoppers feel the instant gratification and security of leaving with their purchase.
- Retailers can create a personal connection with shoppers. Thanks to knowledgeable employees, shoppers are empowered in their own purchase journey by learning about products and forming relationships with the staff members. As shoppers watched an onslaught of stores shut down in 2020, they have become more conscious of and committed to supporting local brick and mortar stores over faceless online retailers. According to a 2020 Groupon survey, 75% of consumers planned to prioritize local businesses.
Disadvantages of retail shopping
- When stay-at-home orders were introduced, customers couldn’t visit their favorite stores—and they may still be wary of spending extended periods of time inside stores today.
- Customers who are looking for convenience can find employee interaction burdensome rather than helpful.
- Retailers who are first opening a store need to deal with potential inventory problems, from holding too much stock to selling out.
- Traditional brick and mortar locations often require higher staffing needs and the associated costs.
Why people shop in person
Traditional brick and mortar shopping offers advantages for shoppers who are looking to spend time browsing and learning more about the store’s offerings. The growing e-commerce industry means retailers will need to continue innovating in order to thrive and maintain relevance. Shoppers want to see their favorite local stores succeed; it’s up to retailers to give them a reason to leave home.
“Although ecommerce is growing at a rate that businesses cannot afford to ignore, in-store shopping will not go extinct. Instead, it will evolve.” SaveMyCent
Cannabis dispensaries deliver a seamless shopping experience
Innovation is the key to progress, and progress fuels growth.. While many retail markets have been hit by trends towards online shopping, cannabis retail has proven resilient in many states—possibly due to the industry’s innovations. As the U.S. cannabis industry is projected to grow at a rate of 14% and reach total sales of $30 billion by 2025, cannabis dispensaries can choose exciting new ways to shop. While brick and mortars can’t compete with the sheer volume of online stores’ products, they can focus less on the competition and more on leveraging an experience that keeps customers coming back.
The Peak Beyond blends the best of online and in-store shopping
When retailers stop choosing, they start winning. Choosing between the omnipresence of online shopping and the tangibility of traditional shopping forfeits the amazing opportunity of interactive retail technology that bridges the gap between them both.
Imagine a smart store that gives customers an engaging interface where they can learn more about products and browse different options to easily add more to their cart. That equals higher tickets—and ultimately, higher profits—for store owners. Interactive point of purchase displays showcase all of the brand information customers may not normally see in their in-store shopping experience, plus they give customers who appreciate less employee interaction the ability to order ahead and pick up their products in the store.
The retail landscape is ever-evolving, so stores need to evolve too to keep up with shoppers’ interests. Instead of becoming casualties of the rise of online shopping, brick and mortar store owners can stay ahead by keeping up with e-commerce trends and reminding customers why they love visiting their favorite stores in person.
Give customers a consistent experience with modern retail tech
Shoppers will keep coming back for more with the convenience of online shopping combined with the interaction of physical products through The Peak Beyond’s suite of innovative retail technology. Reach out to learn how you can integrate digital products into your dispensary today.