All this makes me believe that we’re entering the era of “Physical stores for digital native brands”. Online shops will take the main role while companies will use their physical stores to build their brands. This is in sharp contrast with the established tradition as the brick and mortar segment is meant to build consumers’ trust while eCommerce is a showcase of progress and innovation. However, as people have no other option but to trust online shops, they are changing the established rules overnight.
But focusing on eCommerce isn’t just a necessity, it may also prove beneficial for retailers. Selling products online doesn’t require a large warehouse in an expensive location while customers can enjoy the luxury of having the goods delivered right to their front door.
Therefore, we’re most likely going to see two main changes:
- Many a physical store will turn into a showroom, emphasizing an upgraded user experience and specialist support. The stores will enable the buyers to try the products before ordering them online. This way, sellers will move their warehouses to cheaper locations, thus saving money that can be invested in a convenient delivery system.
- Many retailers will also embrace the concept of “pop-up” stores. As modern architectural solutions enable us to build temporary structures in just a few days and move them between several locations, such stores can bring products closer to more people. Even though this concept is relatively unknown in Slovenia, it’s already well established in several other countries across Europe, Asia and America.
It’s time to invest in eCommerce!
If the above arguments haven’t made an impression on you, let me also add that the internet is a seriously crowded place right now. Some people use it to find the latest information on the spread of COVID-19 and the emergency measures, others are looking for ideas on how to spend all that free time in self-isolation. People don’t go to parks and city streets these days, they go online.
For all those who have already developed suitable eCommerce solutions, this is a great opportunity to reach new customers. What is more, as many retailers actually stopped their online activities (which goes against common sense!), online advertising is about to become cheaper too, meaning that the crisis also means an opportunity to grow! If you’re willing to grab it with both hands, make sure to double-down on your social media efforts, invest some time and money in optimizing your online store and use top-notch online content to provide quality information.
What are you still waiting for?
I’d like to finish this train article with a graph that illustrates the development of eCommerce and physical stores in the US. As you can see, the online sales are expected to overtake brick and mortar retail for good while traditional stores will most likely never return to former glory.