It is a truth universally acknowledged that online shopping is taking over and traditional brick and mortar stores would soon only be found in the pages of history.
Well, maybe not.
Recent studies have shown that, at least for now, this is no more than urban myth.
A staggering 94% of customers still prefer the traditional stores as opposed to online stores.
But why, with the sheer variety, convenience and price competitiveness of online shopping, do customers still prefer traditional stores?
Most customers visit your average brick-and-mortar store because they want to see, test and feel the products before purchase. And that makes sense.
There are some things that need to be sensed and tested before purchase. For example, if you are looking to buy a new perfume, you can’t truly understand the fragrance and how well it will work against the chemistry of your skin just from a written description. The Internet, despite all its capabilities, simply cannot replace the human sense of smell and touch (yet).
The fact that customers not only need but sometimes prefer more hands-on experience with their product is the reason why traditional stores might never become irrelevant.
Speed of delivery
No matter how fast an e-commerce store delivers a particular product, it is very unlikely they will be faster than a pick up from a local store.
Unless the product isn’t in stock and must be ordered, the customers can get their hands on a purchase immediately. If a customer has an urgent need to buy a dress for a function the same night, an online order (despite the express delivery options) just will not cut it.
Have you ever browsed websites, read dozens of conflicting reviews and ended up being confused about what to buy? Sometimes, instead of being helpful, product reviews can be confusing.
Naturally, most customers would prefer to go to a store, look and feel the product themselves and get some face to face personal advice before making their decision.
Some follow whims
There are times when a customer would buy a product on instinct. Maybe they stumbled upon a great decorative piece for their home, or the music and ambience of a store made a particular pair of shoes feel just perfect.
Often, customers don’t really go to stores with the specific intention to buy something. Many just window shop until they spot something interesting. These impulse buys are less likely to happen in online stores.
There’s still an element of distrust when it comes to online shopping. People don’t really want to wait for a few days to get a product, find that it’s not to their satisfaction and then have to deal to return and exchange. They would rather ensure that the product is right for them in the first place.
So if you’re a small business owner worried that your store might become irrelevant, you don’t need to. Just keep up with the times and use e-commerce to make your business grow.