The Value of a Brick and Mortar Location in the Internet Age

Digital technology is so entrenched in everyday life that it is hard to remember what it was like before the Internet revolution took place. This stark transition is especially apparent in the consumer-producer relationship because of the accelerated relationship building that occurs within these new channels. There is no doubt that brands need to focus time and resources on optimizing their digital customer touchpoints, but the question remains, is this the end for brick-and-mortar locations? The Internet is fully settled as the primary information cog of our culture, but customer still do have a desire to visit brick-and-mortar locations when purchasing a product. Brands need to figure out how to balance their identity to serve both channels to create an industry leading Customer Experience.

There is a space for primarily eCommerce brands in the modern market, but there is still high value for both brands and consumers in optimzied brick-and-mortar locations. We are living in what is commonly referred to as the experiential economy, meaning that people are looking to these kinds of locations to provide value beyond being a place to buy a product or service, the kind of value that is unique to a physical location. Even with advanced technology making it easier to buy virtually anything than it ever has been before, 87% of shoppers visit a brick-and-mortar location to buy a product or service.[1] Turning your brick-and-mortar store into an experience means that people will want to share that they visited your brand on social media, and share their experience within these stores with their friends and family.

The best Customer Experiences reduce the amount of effort necessary to transition between channels, which means that these two primary channels should work in tandem with each other to provide the most value to customers. Both of these arenas should work together to bring customers into your funnel, and the best brands have systems in place to accomplish this. According to Deloitte, 80% of consumers interact with brands or products online before making the decision to visit a brick-and-mortar location.[2] Digital technology is a supremely effective way to reach customers, but without a traditional store, brands could lose out on a huge population of potential customers. By improving existing brick-and-mortar locations, brands can make a greater impact on individual customers, as well as reach more of these people.

While there is significant cost in creating and sustaining these kinds of experiential retail locations, brands that are able to turn them into attractions will find quick growth and satisfied customers. There are a lot of inherent incentives to purchase from online stores. It can be more convenient, cheaper, and possess more variety when purchasing a product online, yet there is still a more than viable brick-and-mortar economy. One way that organization combat these incentives is by offering special in-store offers, resulting in 85% of shoppers visiting a location to access these in-store offers.[3] These kinds of offers help to transition your location from a transactional to an experiential location.

Brick-and-mortar locations may seem to be dwindling in terms of their impact on sales, but when it comes to Customer Experience they are an irreplaceable asset. Optimize your organization’s Customer Experience by enhancing the value you provide at these physical locations, and in exchange, you will find that more customers will reach your brand and become brand ambassadors.

 

[1] http://www.inreality.com/resources/report/the-reality-of-retail-2016/

[2] https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/consumer-business/articles/navigating-the-new-digital-divide-retail.html

[3] https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/consumer-insights/how-digital-connects-shoppers-to-local-stores/


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