FU­TURE IN THE PHYS­I­CAL

Progressive Grocer (India) - - Technology -

In­vest­ing in cut­ting-edge in-store tech­nol­ogy can be in­tim­i­dat­ing for gro­cers, es­pe­cially when many are fo­cus­ing more on e-com­merce ex­pan­sion as part of an om­nichan­nel sur­vival strat­egy. It should never be over­looked, how­ever.

Al­though dig­i­tal re­tail is cap­tur­ing head­lines, phys­i­cal stores re­main crit­i­cal, ac­cord­ing to “On Solid Ground: Brick-and-mor­tar Is the Foun­da­tion of Om­nichan­nel Retailing,” a July 2014 re­port from Chicagob­ased con­sul­tancy A.T. Kear­ney. Some 90 per­cent of all re­tail sales are trans­acted in stores, and 95 per­cent of them are cap­tured by re­tail­ers with a brick-and-mor­tar pres­ence.

“Stores pro­vide con­sumers with a sen­sory ex­pe­ri­ence that al­lows them to touch and feel prod­ucts, im­merse in brand ex­pe­ri­ences, and en­gage with sales as­so­ciates who pro­vide tips and reaf­firm shop­per en­thu­si­asm for their new pur­chases,” A.T. Kear­ney says.

Ad­di­tion­ally, two-thirds of con­sumers who pur­chase on­line use the store be­fore or af­ter their trans­ac­tions. In these cases, the store makes a sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion to con­vert­ing the sale, even though the trans­ac­tion even­tu­ally is reg­is­tered on­line.

“The de­bate should not be a ques­tion of dig­i­tal or phys­i­cal,” A.T. Kear­ney notes. “Suc­cess­ful re­tail­ers un­der­stand how each cus­tomer touch­point adds value … and de­velop om­nichan­nel strate­gies — with stores as the foun­da­tion — that max­i­mize cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion with prof­itabil­ity.”

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