For years, experts have been predicting a “retail apocalypse” and the end of brick and mortar-based shopping as we know it. The theory is that shopping online vs. in-store has replaced the need for in-store browsing.
As we prepare to enter the home stretch of the holiday shopping season, it’s worth taking a look at where we stand on this important issue. Are consumers interested in buying online or in stores?
Shopping Online Vs. In-Store: The Numbers
According to one interesting study on shopping trends, retail is actually far from dead. There are many products that consumers still prefer purchasing in store such as:
- Automotives (88 percent)
- Major appliances (85 percent)
- Tools and hardware (77 percent)
- Jewelry (71 percent)
- Electronics (69 percent)
Other top items include kitchen and bath accessories (69 percent), apparel and footwear (68 percent), kitchenware (68 percent), small appliances (66 percent), office stationery (64 percent), tablets and smartphones (61 percent), computers (60 percent), and cameras/accessories (57 percent).
On the other side of the spectrum, shoppers indicated that they prefer to buy the following items online:
- Entertainment (52 percent)
- Toys & games (52 percent)
- Books (62 percent)
The Inside Scoop On In-Store Shopping
In a separate study of 46,000 consumers, omnichannel consumers who conducted research on a retailer’s own site, or a competitor’s site, spent 13 percent more on in-store purchases.
While these trends may change in the future thanks to new advancements in communications and technology, for now there is still a balance. Businesses are therefore strongly encouraged to offer both robust online and in-store retail solutions in order to provide seamless shopping experiences for their customers.
Tie It In A Bow With UC
One technology that is essential for creating seamless shopping experiences is Unified Communications (UC), or the integration of multiple communications services into one platform. This includes voice and IP telephony, instant messaging, presence information, fax, email and more.
A UC system is essential for engaging with consumers during the buying process. Teams that have robust UC systems in place stand a much better chance of pushing shoppers down the sales funnel by answering important questions.
What’s more, cloud-based UC solutions are very resilient and designed for dealing with heavy holiday shopping volumes. For instance, many businesses find out the hard way this time of year that their communications infrastructure can’t handle sudden spikes in customer traffic. When you outsource your communications management to a UC solutions provider with line bursting/pooling support, you can dynamically scale your phone lines as needed, and stand a better chance of capitalizing on holiday sales. This is just one of the many advantages Unified Communications solutions can offer to retail entities.