In recent years, e-commerce retail sales have grown at a faster rate than sales in the more traditional “brick and mortar” locations, but it would be a mistake to think that “brick and mortar” stores are going to go the way of the Dodo bird.
As a CBS news article pointed out in November of last year, “Online sales claimed 7.4 percent of the retail dollar in the third quarter, up from 2.8 percent 10 years ago, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. E-commerce, which accounted for $87.5 billion in the September-ending quarter, was ahead 15 percent over the same period in 2014. Brick-and-mortar retailing nudged up just 0.6 percent, year over year.”
The same article points out that Amazon is seeing healthy growth while sales at more traditional merchants are remaining stagnant or losing ground.
The author of the article continues, “Forrester Research predicts that online retailing will reach a natural peak within the next 10 to 15 years, reaching as much as 25 percent of total sales.”
However, if you reflect on this statistic for a while, the logical conclusion is that even though e-commerce sales are going to take a larger piece of the pie, approximately 75 percent of sales will still happen in the “brick and mortar” store.
This is general point that the author of the CBS article is trying to make.
In fact, many retail experts have been pointing out how important the “brick and mortar” store is to the future of retail.
That said, traditional retailers can’t rest on their laurels. The path to conversion going forward is not going to be the same as it was in the past.
Consumers Use Online and Mobile to Get Ideas, Research Products, and Purchase Items
While the Internet is only a few decades old, smart marketers have found ways to measure and optimize the online conversion process.
However, by giving consumers the ability to quickly get ideas and research and compare products, what consumers do online can also have an effect on offline sales.
This has become an even bigger issue given the fact that many consumers now have a smartphone with them, giving them the ability to browse, research, and compare products even as they view the items in real life in “brick and mortar” stores.
Therefore, when looking at the big picture, what a consumer sees online can and will impact online and offline sales.
With this in mind, Google and other businesses are working hard to help retailers and brands increase sales by driving customers to their online and offline stores.
In order to optimize these efforts, retailers need to be able to measure what effect online marketing has on offline sales. While the process isn’t perfect yet, Google is trying to provide a solution to this problem, as well.
In today’s world, retailers and brands shouldn’t choose to market and sell their products online or offline.
The way to success will be using tactics that give customers the information that they need when and where they need it and the ability to buy the products when and how they want to.
Therefore, the correct choice is actually marketing and selling products online and offline.
Photo credit: Bell Ella Boutique on Flickr.