Perhaps there is light at the end of the tunnel: the rapid progression of the vaccination campaign, the lukewarm reopening of shops, stadiums and borders seem auspicious signs of an economic recovery and a definitive exit from the Covid-19 pandemic.
A tornado that swallowed the entire world and spat it back profoundly changed, in every aspect.
Case and point, the purchasing habits of consumers who faced blockages and closures by taking refuge in e-commerce thus decreeing an unprecedented growth.
Estimates speak of a sensational boom that has seen 50% of businesses in Europe and North America double their online revenues and that has already made online shopping reach the levels expected for 2025.
How long will this last?
Omnichannel: the bridge between e-commerce and physical stores
Online shopping is beautiful, but… it comes with so many compromises!
Choosing by yourself, sliding your finger across a smartphone, makes purchasing less fun, less human, and in some respects slower – consider waiting for the delivery – and also more complex, if only for the lack of clarity about the products.
In short, alongside the advantages of web commerce, users also complain of many weaknesses and are clamouring for the brands they usually turn to for an evolution of their business proposal.
How can we respond to this widespread customer need?
With an omnichannel strategy: the common denominator between online and offline, capable of combining the physical dimension of retail – with its humanity and tradition – with the digital one, rich in flexibility and innovation, in a harmonious and integrated way, creating a broader, seamless shopping experience that works well across all devices and channels.
As the McKinsey B2B Pulse report shows, omnichannel is now the standard and not the exception.
The Business Giants are already active in omnichannel: those who had only physical stores were quick to propose part of their offer online – via e-commerce or simply in video commerce, with flexible and smart tools such as ShopCall – while those who were active only online, like Amazon have enriched their shopping experience with offline stores or pop-up shops, to get closer to the customer and give substance to the brand.
Up for grabs is for those who can ride this phenomenon successfully, there is an annual growth prospect of 10%, against a + 3.5% destined for anyone who remains at multi-channels and does not excel in the full integration between on and offline.
Omnichannel: what will the store of the future be like?
Thus, it is clear that, in tomorrow’s retail strategies, physical stores will not be replaced by digital channels, but will have to evolve and blend perfectly with online shopping to offer the customer a real cross-channel and cross-device experience.
Once the classic idea of the traditional shop has been archived, it’s time to rethink the spaces of the store, making it:
Smaller: since it no longer has to play the role of a showcase for the entire range of goods, becoming a meeting and advice point. Here the shopkeeper can devote themselves to providing valuable advice to the customer, leaving the online platform the burden of displaying all the products in full;
More specialised, offering, as in a boutique, particular products that customers struggle to find online;
More innovative, with technological gems – such as virtual reality displays, useful for testing products effectively and pleasantly – that can surprise customers with a truly advanced shopping experience, even offline. And obviously, monitor them while they are stationed in your store.
More customer-centric, i.e. aimed at offering customers personalised offers based on their preferences. To do this, it is essential to keep track of consumer tastes and file the profiles of each, simulating the cookies of e-commerce!
Physical retail and online shopping need each other to survive: omnichannel is the answer to overcome the challenges of tomorrow.