It’s a fact that all the large retail brands have an online site. Consumers are increasingly using the Internet and looking for as much information as possible before buying, regardless of the purchasing channel they choose in the end. Being present online is therefore vital for all physical brands, which then become part of the « Click and Mortar » phenomenon..
The expression refers to businesses selling their products both online and in traditional stores. These two commerce models are known for competing several times during a purchase...With the explosion of e-commerce over the past few years, traditional brands have to be present online without necessarily neglecting their outlets, still required by customers who want to « see the product in real life » before buying. So how do brands manage to reconcile these two distribution channels which are supposedly in competition with each other?
Traditional and online selling: a complementarity without precedent
«Whether in the U.S. or Europe, the growth of commerce in the next 5 years will largely be generated by the Internet » explains Sucharita Mulpuru, vice-president and main analyst at Forrester.
« In order to optimise this growth, professionals in e-commerce must set up a multi-channel strategy, adapted to the increasing desire of consumers to browse freely between the online and offline world, as well as to their new behaviour, linked to the use of mobile phones and social networks » she adds.
Traditional commerce can therefore peacefully co-exist with e-commerce! Overall, all consumers are not yet ready to buy everything via the Internet. For specialised, technical or expensive products, they prefer to receive advice face-to-face when purchasing.
Sites offering products that need to be tried on (ready-to-wear clothes, accessories…) are developing more and more facilities for consumers: returns or exchanges offered, however the deadlines required sometimes slow down purchasing.
The area in which “Click and Mortar” excels is therefore the complementarity between e-commerce and traditional commerce.
In the U.S., many brands have created an exemplary connection between these two channels. Take Abercrombie & Fitch, for example. A famous ready-to-wear brand adored by American teenagers, Abercrombie & Fitch has a network of over 300 stores in the U.S. and covers 5 continents.
Its prices are relatively high given its target market but its stores are always full. What is its secret? It owes its success to an unfailing synergy and complementarity. Slashed prices and constant promotions online, returns, exchanges, refunds and competitions to win attractive prices in stores.
You too can make the most of your sales channels and develop your turnover by following these 4 key pieces of advice:
- 1 - The Internet remains for Internet users the domain of great deals… Make your online store competitive and invest in marketing! Promote your new products, special offers, reductions using slideshows, advertising inserts…and read our advice on how to create an effective homepage.
- 2 - Connect your sales channels: after an online order, offer collection, exchange or refund in store: this is an undeniable means of reassuring your customers: they will know where to go if they need assistance!
- 3 -Organise online and offline promotional activities: in-store, offer competitions to interact with your customers. And why not offer them activities combining online and traditional commerce? For example, a code to be collected in the store and entered on your Internet site to discover its prize… The possibilities are endless!
- 4 - Offer products that are exclusive to each of your channels, products exclusive to the Internet site, the store… This will build customer loyalty and encourage your customers to buy both online and in your stores!