Add to Cart – The Pros and Pitfalls of Online and Brick and Mortar Shopping
by Angie Ash, Executive Vice President
With all of the concern given to news of brick and mortar stores closing, or in constant need of workers, I felt the need to turn to our own staff – many of them Millennials and Gen Z – to find out how much they truly enjoy purchasing online, and how much of it is truly just hype. Turns out there’s a healthy mix of both spectrums.
When I asked what would make the online shopping experience better, I got some interesting answers. Besides the typical multi-view and multi-color options, one newer employee mentioned the ability to see the total dollars in the cart instead of just the number of items. Genius, if you ask me, and so helpful to those on a budget. If there’s ever been a generation keen on saving money and comparison shopping, it’s Gen Z!
Turns out, not everyone prefers to shop online all the time and for everything, even those in their 20s who are getting their first taste of spending their own money and balancing their bank accounts.
Another thing that’s considered is real and fair reviews. Amazon should take note because nobody really likes those “I was paid for my fair evaluation” reviews. If anything, today’s online customer is increasingly skeptical of what they read online, and prefer to put more weight on the opinions and suggestions of family and friends.
An aspect of shopping that’s expected today is the ability to purchase online and return in a nearby brick and mortar location. It’s especially popular with young parents who don’t want to cart their kids around town for hours the way their parents did. And, of course, you can’t discount free shipping!
What can brick and mortar stores do better to get people back in their doors? As one millennial employee states, keeping stores organized is key. If you are venturing out, you want to get in and easily find what you need instead of combing through countless racks. Time is very valuable to people these days and most find a poor or limited selection to be a major deterrent. It’s frustrating for today’s shoppers to walk into a brick-and-mortar store to purchase, only to find out that what they are interested in is only available online. This can be a bit of a catch 22 to retailers, though, who don’t want to stock up a bunch of products that won’t be purchased.
When I asked everyone why they feel their shopping habits have changed over the years, besides the obvious rise of technology, it came down primarily to the value of their time. So the biggest note of all is to make sure the time spent by your customers in your store leaves a great lasting impression. The face of retail is certainly changing in ways we didn’t necessarily anticipate. It will be interesting to see how brick and mortar store models continue to multi-channel to evolve and allow for the needs and desires of today’s ever-changing consumer.