Offline Physical Stores: Multi-sensory Consumer Experience

February 03, 2020

International giants like Amazon and eBay have their own offline physical stores. Amazon opens physical stores in central New York, Singapore physical stores, etc. For well-known e-commerce companies, online operations are more handy, while offline has become a big shortcoming. In the O2O era, the existence of offline physical stores has its practical significance.

Against the background of new technologies and growing pure online retailers, industry analysts have been questioning the future of physical stores. What should online retailers do to ensure growing businesses and gain market share? As a result, opening physical stores has become an increasingly popular way.

With the rise of the omnichannel retail strategy, the mobile and PC experience has gradually become a complement to the customer experience in the physical store rather than competition. Retailers need to stay competitive and find ways to provide a seamless user experience across a variety of sales channels. Birchbox and Frank & Oak are two of them.

Survey research shows that 78% of consumers prefer to shop in physical stores, and they go to physical stores more than six times more than online shopping. This reflects the fact that most major sales activities still occur in physical stores. In 2013, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that 94% of retail activities were conducted in physical stores, and only 6% of transactions were completed online.

The benefits of opening a display retail shelving store for online retailers can be summarized in three parts: multi-sensory consumer experience, better logistics, and consumer service, and strong and lasting brand relationships.

product display in retail store
Sephora BOTF Store Beauty Retail Fixtures
product display in retail store factory
Braun Shop in Shop Smart Permanent Display Cabinet

What is a multi-sensory consumer experience?
There is nothing more sensible than putting the product directly on your hand to feel the texture and observe the details, and these tactile sensations are absolutely impossible for online stores. We found that 73% of consumers would like to feel the material texture and try it on before buying a product, and physical stores provide such a place. Customers can also put a series of products together for comparison and reference so that they can make better purchasing decisions themselves.

In addition, physical stores have been improving the in-store space to make the in-store customer experience more thoughtful and complete. At the same time, physical stores have effectively eliminated the hesitations that online stores will face-are sizes and tailoring appropriate? Outside of fitting, which color do I prefer or better?

BaubleBar is an online retailer focusing on clothing and jewelry. Like some other online retailers investing in offline physical stores, BaubleBar understands the unique experience of directly contacting products and discovers the importance of customer experience in physical stores. After several investigations and trials of brick-and-mortar stores, BaubleBar opened a fixed location store and plans to continue to increase. These brick-and-mortar store experiences not only translate into more sales and reduced returns but also easily increase repeat customers.

People shop in the full-experience store 3.5 times more than other shopping types. The shopping that consumers want is free and unconstrained, and it is shopping anytime, anywhere they want. PC and mobile channels have been considered to effectively enhance the physical store experience, and physical stores will continue to consolidate their superior retail channels.