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Posted by Div on October 24, 2018

If you asked an entrepreneur what the future of retail looked like 10 years ago, they would tell you that ecommerce will eventually dominate the industry. This was once the case. Over the last decade, the ecommerce industry has been highlighted by huge corporations such as eBay, Amazon, and hundreds of subscription services that deliver random selections of retail goods to your door each month.

Our fashion senses have reverted back 40 years; 80’s styles are now trending; skinny jeans are in style again, but this time, they have larger pockets to hold smartphones. Companies have taken a number of learnings from ecommerce businesses and the nature of human buying decisions. With that and the technology available to us today, these same businesses have begun combining both online and brick and mortar commerce concepts into single hybrid systems that play off themselves.

For example, Amazon has pledged to build 3,000 internet-based, cashier less grocery stores by 2020. These futuristic brick and mortar stores operate off the internet, without employees. Customers can walk into the store, while cameras and sensors determine what is being picked up and put in your back. The system will automatically charge your credit card when you walk out of the store. This hybrid concept counters a lack of trust one has when shopping online but uses the power of computers and networking to speed up a regular transaction.

Uber Eats and Skip the Dishes aside, we can’t expect to order full meals online and have them delivered next day, Prime-style. Rather, we are limited to visiting a fast food restaurant and ordering in person if we would like a quick meal. McDonalds began rolling out a cashier-less system where patrons can make their order on a large touch screen and walk up to a counter to collect their food. Consumers spend more time thinking about their options when presented with a list to select from themselves, which often leads them to purchase more than they typically would if ordering by mouth.

By studying the data behind online consumer purchasing, we have been able to draw a number of inferences about how people choose to buy based on what is presented to them. Amazon Go stores and the McDonald’s self-ordering systems are perfect examples of these learnings being applied to real life businesses.

Speaking of data, let’s consider how consumerism has been influenced by internet-based retail. With a vast amount of knowledge available online regarding product information, comparisons, and testimonials, consumers are now equipped with way more information than ever to influence their buying decisions. A single bad review can be enough to put them off. Some customers even opt to try on or test out a product in store, and then make the purchase online. With the emergence of ecommerce, customers used the internet as a substitute to brick and mortar shopping. This dynamic industry is seeing yet a second revolution, where customers begin to use the internet to improve their in-store shopping experiences, rather than replace them.

Ultimately, there is no reason to fear that brick and mortar shopping is no longer “on trend”. Rather, business owners need to acknowledge that the internet can be leveraged to complement their brick and mortar practices. Cross channel sales and allowing for a seamless shopping experience across both online and offline platforms, often ensures high rates of success. Get in touch with #TeamBTI Digital to talk about all things connected and a free consultation to leverage the internet an cross channel sales for your brick and mortar business.