In this technologically advanced era, many have wondered whether eCommerce will take over physical stores within the next 5 years. However, even as online stores and sales continue to experience a meteoric rise in popularity, physical storefronts still remain a popular staple among retailers and business owners. So, what does the future hold for eCommerce or in-person retail outlets? Keep reading to find out what we think.
Physical Stores: Still A Popular Choice For Shoppers In 2022
In a world where you can buy everything you need with just a click from the comfort of your home, will eCommerce take over physical stores? In our opinion, in-person shopping will always remain a popular choice for shoppers. We can even say physical stores will never truly go away – the reasons and factors for which are summed up below:
🎯 Shopping Is A Visceral Experience For Many:
Customers like to experience the process of buying the products they purchase – consumers want to touch or smell the product, whether it’s a sweater or a bottle of perfume. It brings them the sense of trust needed before they complete the purchase, which often does not exist with the eCommerce shopping experience.
🎯 Physical Stores Are Associated With Socialization:
Many customers relate shopping as a social experience, where they spend quality time with friends or family. This process can range from going out to shop together as a group, taking your family to help choose the right products, to making facetime calls where you can ask for opinions about how something looks or feels before purchasing it.
🎯 No Product Disappointment When Purchasing In-Person:
As mentioned earlier, when a customer buys from a physical store, he or she can see and feel what product you are purchasing. For example, if you are looking at a clothing store, you can give it a trial, and know exactly how something fits or doesn’t fit. However, customers do not face the same experience when purchasing online, which is why in-person shopping in retail stores is still so popular, even if it is predicted that eCommerce will take over physical stores.
🎯 There Is No Shipping Frustration With In-Person Shopping:
Undoubtedly, shopping online is usually more expensive than purchasing from traditional retail stores because extra shipping costs always get added in. And then, the overall price can vary on each purchase of the same product depending on which type of delivery process you choose – standard, express, or overnight.
Not to forget, the shipping of products is highly dependent on other factors such as delivery service availability, weather conditions, and more. And based on these scenarios, your package can arrive on time or be delayed an extra week or two.
🎯 Physical Shopping Leads To Instant gratification:
And since shipping products you bought online can take several days. But if you go to a store, you can get the product or service immediately. What’s the highlight of these? Customers get instant gratification and convenience.
So you can understand why physical stores are still a very popular option among customers. And as we have said, in-person shopping is here to stay for the long run even if eCommerce will take physical stores. But, even then, more and more businesses are adapting to and depending on eCommerce websites. But why so? Continue reading to find out more.
Companies Are Adapting To eCommerce Faster Than Ever
In this era of technological advancements, digital transactions in online shops are now easier than ever. e-Wallets, the 4G, and the much-anticipated 5G technologies allow faster online communication and purchases. And therefore, eCommerce will take over physical stores for sure.
Despite the positive factors for physical shopping listed above, the NRF Retail’s Big Show 2018 made an announcement that shocked the world: ‘In the US, eCommerce sales are expected to overtake in-store sales by 2024’.
Figure 1. The present & predicted number of eCommerce stores in the USA
In 2019 alone, for instance, consumers worldwide spent close to 600 billion on online purchases. Then, in 2020 online shopping growth rate raised to 19%. And afterward, following a year of seismic shifts in online shopping during the Covid 19 pandemic, surges in digital revenue tapered off in 2021. Even then, compared with 2019, online sales increased by 50.5%.
While in-store sales spiked after the extremity of the pandemic died, shoppers didn’t go back to pre-COVID-19 buying tendencies and still shopped online with enthusiasm. It also said that to keep up with this shift in the choice of shopping preferences, retailers and businesses are adapting to new strategies to stay above the competition. Therefore, the phenomenon of eCommerce will take over physical stores solidified during the pandemic when more than thousands of stores worldwide closed their doors for good, if not more. So, even if we say that physical stores will always be a staple, we can see changes happening fast.
And this has led to another prediction that Coresight Research estimates 25% of America’s roughly 1,000 malls will close over the next three to five years. Given this context, businesses have been continuously rethinking and reimagining the relationship between physical points of sale and online, eCommerce platforms.
Source: Digital Guider
However, should we consider this to be the end of physical points of sales? eCommerce sites and platforms will undoubtedly continue to grow exponentially. They might even take over physical stores, but does this mean that in-person shopping will halt completely? Answer: Not necessarily.
Businesses Must Redefine The Role Of Retail Stores & eCommerce
As you can already tell, despite the rise of online shopping, physical stores still have a non-negligible competitive edge: they are a direct point of contact with the brand and allow customers to see the products in person. So for the best effect, businesses now need to rethink their growth strategies and utilize retail stores as a genuine marketing tool because eCommerce is taking over physical stores.
Flagship stores can be used as a showroom that acts as real display cases for a brand’s products and values. This is precisely the strategy used by Adidas in New York, where it showcases limited numbers of each shoe design to redirect customers to its online platform and grow traffic. The brand has thus gone from a transactional approach to a model that values customer in-store experience and the feeling of exclusivity while also promoting its online websites.
These American market patterns provide evidence of the coming changes in the retail industry where eCommerce will take over physical stores. For businesses to benefit from the future domination of online sales, they will need to go through this shift in its entirety. The survival of stores in the United States and around the world depends on how well businesses can bring a smooth balance between the two types of industries.
Top Strategies Shaping The Future Of Online Shopping
As retailers adjust to this digital sales boom, online marketplaces are changing the way customers shop. Amazon alone accounted for nearly one-third of all online retail sales in 2020, according to Internet Retailer. Other top online retailers also saw considerable increases in their online sales. Walmart, for instance, reported its online sales grew 79% in its fiscal year 2021.
The pandemic, which pushed many consumers to change how they buy essential items, electronics, and clothing, has helped to reshape the future of online shopping and forced businesses to evolve to meet new needs and demands. To capitalize on the opportunities presented by eCommerce, business professionals must be well versed in the latest technologies and trends, including the following:
Customer Data & Analytics Improve Marketing Tactics
The future of online shopping relies on capturing patterns of shopping behavior. While online stores may not have customer service agents following you through the store or dressing rooms for you to try an outfit, they can provide a completely personalized experience through recommendations based on customers’ interests, style choices, and preferences using data.
As the industry evolves and eCommerce is taking over physical stores, there is an opportunity for business professionals to make a profound impact on the future of online shopping. The eCommerce shopping experience is now more data and analytics-driven than ever before. Market research analysis via a variety of tools can be used to assist in processing customer data and uncover important insights. This allows a brand to create strategic pricing, advertising, and cross promotions on both an individual basis and based on widespread trends from the industry.
Online Shopping Is Going Mobile, Increasing Accessibility
The increasing use of mobile devices has significantly impacted the retail industry. Market data provider Statista predicts that in 2021, online purchases made from smartphones will account for more than $345 billion in retail sales. Statistics show that in the USA alone, approximately 80% of online shoppers have made at least one purchase using their smartphone.
The ease of access from anywhere in the world helps increase eCommerce businesses’ growing popularity. Therefore, innovative retail brands are creating a mobile or laptop-friendly site to ensure customer satisfaction and integrate a multi-channel strategy to optimize sales conversions.
Social Media Platforms Expands The Online Storefront
Companies can also leverage their strong social media presence to expand their business and online storefront. F-Commerce (or Facebook eCommerce) and Instagram is now very popular platform where businesses can display their products, services, and facilities attractively to their large customer base. You can also integrate influencer marketing strategies to bring a greater effect.
Bonus: eCommerce Niches That Are Dominating The Market In 2022
So with that, we want to conclude that while eCommerce platforms are growing exponentially but they will never replace in-personal shopping. They are both here to stay and help businesses expand. Therefore, the growth of eCommerce will take over physical stores and dominate the markets, but the retail businesses in offline shops will never get depleted.
But before we leave, we want to bring you a list of the best eCommerce niches that are most likely to help you dominate the market:
🏆 Digital Artwork, NFT & CryptoCurrency Business
💻 Home Office & Remote Working Equipments
👟 Home Gym, Healthcare Products & Fitness Equipment
🌿 Eco-Friendly Products That Serve The Environment
🎓 Online Education And eLearning System
✨ Beauty & Skincare Products For The General
🐶 All Types Of Pet Products & Supplies
Hope this analysis on ‘eCommerce will take over physical stores‘ was useful for you; let us know what you think by commenting below. Join our Facebook group to communicate or subscribe to our blog for more helpful guides, insightful tips and tricks, trending news, and the latest updates.