The current diminishing state of the high street isn’t a hidden feature of the British shopping milieu. In 2016, an average of 15 shops a day had closed whilst the e-commerce industry has almost doubled since 2010. The current decline in physical stores, has left those with locations questioning the output between their brick and mortar stores with their online presence. Considering the highly placed importance of e-commerce in today’s technologically developed society, it’s essential for those who have physical store to strike the right balance between their online and offline stores.

Physical Stores Are Still Important

As we try to improve the buying experience for our digital customers through optimising our social media channels, pushing SEO and encouraging website conversion rates, it’s easy to lose touch with where it all started. The importance of a physical store is undeniably imperative for a number of reasons. Firstly, a brick and mortar store supports a personal consumer-retailer relationship.

Dealing on a face-to-face basis with consumers immerses them in the complete shopping experience, even when their buying behaviour changes. Mark Buxton from Larizia, recognises this, suggesting it directly relates to repeated custom. “We tend to see many familiar faces on a weekly basis in our store. We put this down to both the level of customer service they receive and how our brand is reflected in the aesthetics of the store – something which is difficult to replicate online”.

E-Commerce Represents A New Form Of Importance

Whilst physical stores represent a traditional form of business, technology has placed a great importance of trading online and specifically how your e-commerce store can supplement your retail store. For instance many businesses are utilising technology to aid their daily customer interactions.

By offering an item ordering service, a consumer can order from the website and have their products delivered to the store to collect. Through this omni-channel approach retail giants are getting more footfall in their physical stores, further maximising the potential for other customers to make another purchase. This insinuates that the growth of online shopping correctly has the power to result in increased sales at certain physical stores.

Utilise Your Physical Store To Influence E-Commerce

The supplementary effects of an e-commerce store aiding physical locations is conversely reflected, with marketing tools accessibly available to drive consumers to your website from in store. Primarily, many companies use in store data capture to identify their patrons spending habits. Jess Stead from Daniel Footwear, highlights how questionnaires to acquire information has shaped their eventual marketing strategy. “At the till we ask customers to fill out a survey to provide us with some information about the items that they like and what they’d like to see. As our customers keep our business going, we want what they want!”

Additionally, physical retail stores use direct engagements and incentives to push more people to their website. Despite this being a less personal method, its effectiveness is unequivocal. By presenting in store customers with newsletters (that regularly obtain discount codes) it acts as an encouragement that further motivates them to log onto your company website, consequently increasing online sales and ameliorating traffic.

Unique Collaboration Of Online & Offline Stores

In conclusion, both physical stores and e-commerce websites hold an individual importance in the retail world. Although the world is becoming increasingly technological, people are still warming to the traditional way of conducting business. Overall, companies will differ whether they put more of an impetus into an online/offline store. What permanently remains is the need to strike a harmonious equilibrium that suits.