With the launch of ecommerce websites and portals it was predicted that online stores will be taken over by physical stores. Marketplace software platform providing open source ecommerce portal options, everyone started opening online shopping websites.
To some extent it is true as well. In USA, almost at regular intervals the companies are shutting down their stores across the country and shifting to ecommerce. They are in fact choosing to put more effort on their ecommerce counterpart. While malls are finding it a struggle to maintain their stores, more than 8,600 stores were closed in 2017 – and that is extremely alarming figure.
Then comes the shocker. The ecommerce portals are opening their brick and mortar counterparts in different part of the country. From click to brick, this theory has confused many as to why the ecommerce portals doing it. Some stores you can do usual shopping and but some stores are still doing everything through their ecommerce e-retail counterpart.
For example, if you visit Boll & Branch’s brand new- New Jersey-based retail store, it is a beautifully decorated place with friendly attendants and customer care executives. However, all your purchases will be delivered to your home through mail. The store is still following its ecommerce selling pattern even through their physical store. Recently, Amazon, the major ecommerce giant has decided to open its mega bookstore in New York City. Similarly, in India online furniture brands like Pepperfry and Urban Ladder have opened a number of brick and mortar stores in different parts of the subcontinent.
The question will always remain as to why these online stores are turning to brick and mortar counterparts when the physical stores are pulling down their shutters permanently. Online shopping companies are coming up with different ecommerce business ideas to enhance their portals. Thus, what business idea is there behind opening brick and mortar stores even after having an online ecommerce store? Isn’t it counterintuitive?
Back to Bricks?
In 2014, amazon opened its first brick and mortar store that offered one-day delivery to the people of New York. Later as years passed by, the ecommerce giant opened kiosks in different malls where they were selling their self-branded goodies and taking return deliveries. Soon this trend was followed by different other ecommerce portals. Few opted for small kiosks in the corner of a popular shopping mall and few went out of their way to open uber stores. Thus, having a physical presence soon proved to be a success.
The basic ecommerce business idea is to have 25 – 30 stores in key locations instead of having 500 stores all over the place. The reasons are:
- Branding themselves to the world
- Getting more footprints, both offline and online
- Encouraging people to revisit their stores and enhancing client retention
- Proving their authenticity to the world that ‘Yes, we exist”
- Giving people more option of experiencing the pleasure of buying form a physical store
The main aim is to create better customer experience. Everything has been done keeping the customers in mind. Most ecommerce portals give extremely importance to their customers. They go out of their way to come up with different ecommerce business ideas to retain their clients and also bring in new prospects. This itself is a herculean task in a digital world where competition is at its extreme level.
Another major factor is geo-targeted location. In this age of geo-location based sales, companies and customers are most attuned with each other. With the concept of data-driven marketing and big data coming into the picture, it is not rocket science to track your customers buying behavior and browsing pattern. Companies are easily getting the picture of their customers’ whereabouts and in return the customers are also more than happy to share their information for a better shopping experience.
Opening of brick and mortar stores in different key locations is part of this strategy. “Hyper-personalization’ is a new concept, where a popular ecommerce store opens a physical store in the heart of the city. This is part of the marketing campaign of taking customer experience to another level. The ecommerce giants are even thinking of integrating augmented reality and virtual reality with all this. The ecommerce industry claims that their amount of gathering customer data will double its size with opening of few stores across key locations. The importance of that data collected is priceless.
This is one of the best opportunity to bridge the ridge between the physical and online stores. This is also known as the omni-channel strategy. Therefore, by opening a brick and mortar counterpart, the ecommerce companies are giving their customers to go through their store physically, – giving them the experience of buying products both offline and online. The main concept is to meet customer expectations in every sense and grab as many channels of marketing as possible to ensure maximum sales.