Online and Offline Stores: An Omni-channel Retail Trend

February 17, 2020

Nowadays, people can buy favorite products online without leaving home. But troubles come as people may buy inferior products online. If there are multi-channel shopping ways, we can see online and offline stores complement each other. Subsequent orders can be placed in online stores through the physical experience of the offline stores, which can entirely solve people's annoyance mentioned above. 

Kiddicare, an online baby products retailer, has beaten many traditional sellers of baby gear by providing an online shopping channel for those sleep-deprived parents. However, Kiddiecare took over 10 "superstores" from Best Buy for their new offline stores in 2012, saying that the shops will give customers "a true multi-channel experience". 

"Multichannel", is something almost every retailer wants to be. It means customers can shop with smartphones, laptops and even in stores as if a single salesperson is at your service anytime. 

For products that do not require a physical display, the traditional retail marketing mode is far to support the long-term development of the enterprise. For example, American book chain group Bods and British electronics retailer Comet were hit by their online peer stores. While for products with "nondigital" attributes such as clothes, shoes, and fruits, consumers generally prefer offline stores, as physical stores can provide instant delivery, trust, and security to them. It's no wonder that Kiddiecare expands its offline market share. 

What Can Firms Do to Achieve Sales in Both Offline Stores and Online Stores?

Pure-play internet retailers do not need to pay venue rent, which is the most significant advantage of online stores, at the same time, the logistics distribution, return, etc. required for online ordering are enough to balance this advantage.

The British high-end department stores chain John Lewis implements an online-to-offline mode for their business. Manager Noor Sanders said, "Every time a new physical store is opened, online orders volume around the new store will increase 20% -40%.", said Noor Sanders, manager of the John Lewis. For instance,, one of the largest non-government retailers in China, it allows customers to shop on their e-commerce platform or via an app and then visit a local store. Customers can choose to have the goods shipped directly to their home or a local store for free. Moreover, the Suning Xiaodian (Suning Convenience Store), which locate at most communities, offering fresh food delivery for its customers. The new retail mode doesn't eliminate the in-store multi-sensory experience, nor does it overshadow the entirety of online shopping. The study shows that customers who come to the local store to pick up the goods will stay in the store to browse other products; 40 % of them tend to buy more. 

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How Can Firms Better Leverage the Cost of Offline Stores?

Pop-up stores, which are short-term retail spaces that sell merchandise of any kind, often to catch onto a fad or timely event. Retailers like eBay, Winser London and P&G have tested out the pop-up concept. The pop-up store allows retailers to build stronger relationships with customers, build brand awareness, and, therefore, sell more offline. 

Another chance to leverage the cost of offline stores is the application of smart shelf display props. Dynamic shelf strip shelf barrier and electronic price tag are the most common types. They are capable of delivering dynamic promotion, product, brand and pricing related information at the shelf edge. On the one hand, it can reduce the expenditure of printed vinyl strips and paper price tags. On the other hand, it lower costs and time spent on labor to replace shelf edge or price tags with speed, consistency, and accuracy. Moreover, you can change pricing, information, etc. from anywhere via smartphone to re-organize the corporate shelf layouts and end cap shelves. 

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This new retail marketing mode "online-to-offline" is more flexible than traditional store mode, lower store costs, diversified sales channels, and higher customer traffic. The future will be multi-channel: online and offline. 

One Plus Management Limited, with 25 years of substantial experience in POSM business, has always provided retail display solutions and more smart shelf display products for each client.