In a recent Entrepreneur article, business executive and author Gary Lee rejected the fear-driven thought process of professionals who claim that brick-and-mortar retail is on its last leg. Instead, he asserts that in-store shopping is poised for unbelievable growth as it embraces “everywhere commerce.”
Lee argues that it is no longer productive or profitable to think of retail in terms of clearly divided channels. Although the e-commerce market is growing, it will never fully eclipse the brick-and-mortar establishments that people know and love. Rather, customers want the option to shop for and buy products in-store and online. It’s no longer an either-or proposition.
However, since they will be co-existing for the foreseeable future, it will be necessary for brick-and-mortar stores and e-commerce sites to make some changes in order to enhance their profitability and functionality.
Lee recommends that business owners eliminate price differentials between the two channels to make shopping anywhere a more seamless process. Online product returns should also be made as easy and fluid as possible, and finally, brick-and-mortar locations will have to adapt to offer their customers novel in-store experiences that will keep people coming back.
In another Entrepreneur article, author Punheet Mehta details this evolving partnership between in-store and online retailers:
“Retailers will adopt mobile-first approaches — that leverage beacons, augmented reality and cross-channel customer profiling — to bridge shoppers’ online and offline worlds. In the age of mobile-dominant consumers — who have expectations of real-time, highly relevant and personalized experiences — omni-channel innovation is no longer a merely something nice to have at a physical store. It’s a must-have.”
To make sure your company isn’t left behind in the retail evolution, be sure to update your point of sale computer systems for comprehensive inventory management as well as the ultimate in customer service, efficiency and reliability.