Imagine this scenario taking place about twenty years back. You are at a retail store and someone tells you that in the near future you would be able to browse through thousands of products and items in one single place and be able to buy them from the comfort of your home. Chances are that you would call the guy a lunatic, but time has proven otherwise.
The impact of online shopping is something that you just can’t ignore, it has changed our lives completely, or more precisely – it has completely changed the way we shop for clothes, buy groceries, order food, and so much more.
Online vs Offline Shopping – Who is Winning?
Online shopping, which is also called e-retail from economic retail or e-shopping, is an e-commerce business sector that has spread throughout the globe like wildfire. It gives customers the option to directly purchase goods and services using their mobile phones, laptops, pc, or any other device that has an internet connection with the help of an online website or application. There are a plethora of e-commerce giants that are ruling the market right now in 2020 such as Amazon, Alibaba, eBay, Flipkart, etc.
This fierce competition of convenience and trust has taken the offline retail market by storm. People now rarely ever go to the shopping malls to shop, instead they go there to have a good time on dates, watch movies, and have dinner. Better prices, reliable return and refund policies, ease of use, and convenience has posed a huge threat to offline retail stores.
How are offline retail stores adapting to the Online vs Offline Shopping frenzy?
The effects on offline shopping is something that you cannot miss. Now that they are facing tough competition from online e-commerce sites, they are not going down without a fight. Effects on offline shopping has resulted in retail stores of popular brands moving towards more of an experiential marketing segment. They are no longer catering to people buying from their store, instead they are trying their best to position themselves in the market in such a way that people walk into their store and try out their products and have a great experience and then later on when they feel like, they can buy their products using the online shopping platform.
This is sort of a hybrid of online shopping and offline shopping strategy that is gaining a lot more popularity as time progresses. The brands that own offline retail stores have realized that there is a gap in customer experience that the impact of online shopping just can’t fill. No matter how many reviews and descriptions that you view of the product on YouTube and the e-commerce stores, some of the customers just can’t help but see, touch, and feel the product in real life before they decide to buy it. Most offline retail stores that are on top of their game are opting for this strategy and taking their experiential marketing tactics to the next level.
In what ways is the fight between Online Shopping vs Offline Shopping Impacting the customer experience?
Online shopping vs offline shopping is impacting the customer experience in several different ways that are both good and bad. Let’s take a look at a couple of the most impact and adverse ways online shopping is affecting offline retail stores around the world.
#1 Online Engagement Drastically Impacts Retail Corporations
You may think that online engagement is merely in the form of social media likes and shares, but that isn’t the case. When a customer likes and follows the page of the brand that they adore, they are signaling to all of their friends and acquaintances that they identify with the brand and approve of it. When one of these huge brands post a picture or an advertisement of a product, they are conveying their mission, their statements, and the values that they stand for which is in tune with their customer’s worldview. This simple act of posting something online strengthens the bond between the customer and the brand. Which can help tremendously in building deeper and meaningful connections between brands and customers.
What’s more is that after they see the post or an advertisement of the product that fits perfectly with their worldview, they have the option to quickly browse the product catalog on social media or in most cases, just proceed to the checkout page immediately after clicking on a button on the social media post.
#2 Change in customer loyalty between Online Shopping and Offline Shopping.
Before online shopping became a mainstream phenomenon, our parents, elders, and older relatives were quite content when shopping for products of their favorite brands from local retail stores and shopping malls. In most cases, if the store was in a neighborhood that they lived in then the store owner or cashier would be an acquaintance of theirs that they could rely on.
But now, since the advent of the internet and e-commerce giants such as Amazon and eBay, customers rarely go to retail stores, and even if they do, it is just to find a pre-selected product for a predetermined price based on the hundreds of online reviews on e-commerce stores – only because the delivery was taking one day longer. And if in case the retail store is charging a little more than the online store, they would then decide to wait for the package to arrive than to pay the extra premium.
Conclusion:There is absolutely no doubt that online shopping in UAE and other countries, in general, are drastically changing customer behaviors and the entire retail market. Unlike before when the customer used to just walk into the store and pick a random product based on the availability, now people are more focused on buying products that belong to their favorite brands because of the huge selection and luxury of getting them at their fingertips in the comfort of their home.