In this time of internet and online transactions, it is hard to believe how big a difference is having physical stores can make than just having a website. The first time this was experienced was by Bonobos, a giant in the online retail of menswear. Most of their feedbacks included consumers wanting to try the clothes on before they buy and once they started such a facility, their sales took a shot like never before. Interestingly, the first time they provided such a service was in the lobby of their office and today, there are 10 such shops in the United States with a plan to open like thirty more in the coming time.
Many have learnt from this experience that the power of direct consumer facing is better than any amount of internet facilities, and have switched to the classic brick and mortar business strategy, including Amazon, Birchbix, Justfab and various others.
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These giants of online marketing have conceded to the facts that unlike 2010, no consumer is any longer appeased by the fancy online advertisements. If they want to add legitimacy to their established online brand, they have to have a physical store doing part of a retail work for them. This increases the sales and the profit by a much larger margin.
Inspirato, another huge online retail brand has, as a part of its latest project, funded the establishment of around five “experience centres” in different malls in the United States with the help of various partners. They have conceded to the fact that their consumer base is much likely to increase to an all new level once they start to understand how exactly to use an Inspirato product, and this can only be done by a direct interface with the consumers without any wires or screens.
The experts have shown no surprise whatsoever in this situation. This is because, as much as the online marketing has widened its consumer base in the last few years, physical retail still carries about ninety percent of the market on its shoulders. Sooner or later, these online brands had to realise this and come to reality if they want to capture a chunk of this market in their business profits as well.
But this recent trend has put light upon another fact, every such online brand starts shooting up right with their physical establishment. Experts seem to believe that this is because these people have most of the logistics already sorted out. Some of the biggest challenges of opening a new shop like inventory, management, warehousing are already sorted for these people and hence, they already have a back support when they come to the physical world.
This coin, like every other, also has two sides. With the advantage of having already figured out the hardest parts of doing the business, comes the disadvantage of lack of experience of dealing with the consumers face to face. This they have to learn with their time in the market.
One important thing about having both physical and online bases covered is that they are both interconnected. If a consumer has a good experience at the store, this could lead to an increased online sale. Simultaneously, if a person is convinced of the quality of products from online purchases, he would be more than happy to contribute to your physical sales.
Another thing these companies would understand with time is the fact that every little detail matters in the physical world, the look of your store, the smell, the ambience music and the variety you display. If done correctly, all of this could help increase the business of such companies.
Another very important advantage is that it doesn’t cost much extra to move to the brick and mortar scale for the companies. The rent and the wages are almost equal to what they already have to pay Google and the likes of it to advertise and the designers to design the perfect website to appease the consumer.
This experience proves one thing, however, high tech the society might get, and the classics are called so for a reason. The old school way of retail, the one that grabs trillions of consumers every year, cannot be topped by an impersonal website.