When super successful pure play ecommerce brands start opening brick and mortar stores, you know the winds are changing.
Bonobos, Warby Parker, and Frank and Oak are a few of the brands who made this move recently, but definitely the most notable is Amazon.
Amazon opened its first bookstore in March 2016, and recently debuted a video of Amazon Go, a store without checkouts or line-ups – although they haven’t released details about the technology that enables this yet.
So what’s going on?
It doesn’t matter whether you’re pure play ecommerce, or, more commonly, a physical retailer that added on ecommerce later in life, evolving customer expectations are forcing everyone to change their strategy.
It’s with this in mind that we’re making the case to drop the ‘e’ from ecommerce.
Keeping Up with the Customers
Retailers need to shift the way they think about commerce, because channels aren’t siloed anymore. There’s no such thing as ecommerce or m-commerce or brick and mortar to your customer. Your brand is everywhere, and so are they.
Results from a recent Fluent survey show that 49% of shoppers who engage with retailers across 10 or more channels make purchases at least once a week, compared with only 21% for those who engage across 1 to 4 channels. That’s great news as far as loyalty goes, but it also shows just how many different paths to purchase one person might take.
The Mobile Connection
According to a recent study from Pew Research, “Americans are incorporating a wide range of digital tools and platforms into their purchasing decisions and buying habits.” In 2000, only 22% of those surveyed had made a purchase online, whereas today’s numbers show that percentage has almost quadrupled.
But the path to purchase isn’t simple, and often involves mobile devices. Sometimes customers read reviews on Facebook or Pinterest, other times they webroom on a product page, and often they might be in your shop testing a product but purchasing online (possibly from a competitor).
The Pew study also reveals that 51% of shoppers have bought something on their phone, and 15% made purchases by following a link from a social media site. But when purchasing something for the first time, Americans prefer to shop in-store 7 times out of 10. This shows not only how fickle customers can be, but also how variable one person’s behavior can be.
The bottom line is that customers expect convenience and options when they are deciding to buy something, online or off. The best retailers are taking notice.