In Retail
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How to Unify the Online and In-Store Shopping Experience


early 90% of customers still shop for household essentials in stores, according to a recent customer survey from Shopkick. As in-store shopping returns, retailers are responding with innovative approaches to reach more customers and unify the online and in-store shopping experience. Online retailers are growing their physical footprint, while brick-and-mortar retailers are implementing new services and digital technologies to modernize their businesses.

Retailers are making significant investments in their infrastructure to blend the online and in-store shopping experiences. Learn how retailers bridge the gap between digital and brick-and-mortar retail spaces to offer customers the best of both worlds.

Quick and Convenient Fulfillment

U.S. consumers are four times more likely to use in-store and curbside pickup in comparison to other regions, according to a new report from PYMNTS. Buy online pickup in-store and curbside pickup are two ways retailers can increase foot traffic to their brick-and-mortar locations while also providing convenience to customers. They can also offer ship from store options and use their physical store’s inventory to fulfill orders for customers who don’t want to visit in person. 

Customers today expect the same speed and convenience in stores that they get online. Giving customers visiting online stores an opportunity to pick up their orders (or return them) at physical locations will strengthen customer loyalty and create an advantage over physical retail competitors that don’t offer comparable fulfillment options.

how to unify the online and in store shopping experience
Buy online pickup in-store and curbside pickup are two ways retailers can increase foot traffic to their brick-and-mortar locations while also providing convenience to customers.

Hybrid Retail Experiences

Online retailers have been launching brick-and-mortar retail ventures to increase sales and attract more customers. While customers enjoy shopping online, there are some things you can only get from being in the store and customers still greatly value these benefits. When asked what in-store experiences are most important to consumers, 62% said the ability to try on, touch and see products in-person and 61% said the ability to confirm the quality of the product.

Digital retailers are increasingly venturing into physical retail channels in the hopes of capitalizing on customers returning to stores. In addition to big cities, brands are growing in mid-sized cities as well in the hopes of taking advantage of the migration trends triggered by the pandemic and subsequent shift to remote work. Pop-up shops are another way for online retailers to unify the online and in-store shopping experience. They can offer new products to customers, build their customer base, and give exclusive deals to omnichannel shoppers.

New Store Formats

Retailers are leveraging new store formats to implement digital technologies and provide customers with greater flexibility and increased convenience. Amazon recently opened its first Amazon Go store aimed at serving customers in suburban-area locations. The larger-format convenience store offers customers a wider selection of products as well as services like Amazon’s Just Walk Out cashierless checkout technology and Amazon returns.

While some retailers are going bigger, others are going smaller to bring their stores closer to customers. BJ’s Wholesale Club will open its new BJ’s market concept store in Rhode Island on May 6. The location is 43,000 square feet, about half the size of a traditional BJ’s store, and will feature fresh foods, produce, and seasonal products for members, while also serving as a testing ground for product assortments, displays, product demonstrations and convenience initiatives. The market will also offer Express Pay, curbside pickup and same-day delivery.

Now that consumers are comfortable heading back to stores, retailers are thinking critically about the role physical spaces play in the omnichannel shopping journey. Retailers are improving the in-store shopping experience while also using stores to fulfill eCommerce needs, and create a seamless shopping experience.

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