With people increasingly accessing the internet via their tablets, shopping behavior is changing as well. According to a survey related to the online retail market in the UK, mobile commerce grew by 254% between 2010 and 2011, and by a further 300% between 2011 and 2012. 69 percent of tablet owners make purchases on their device every month! But does this mean that in-store shopping is dying?
Many retailers famous for focusing on in-store shopping experiences have begun to pivot based on new shopping trends. As an example, Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, has initiated a greater investment in e-commerce, creating an environment similar to Amazon’s popular online store, though its $469 billion 2012 revenues are still much larger than Amazon’s $61 billion.
With the habit of online shopping growing, the traditional high street is changing accordingly. The old customers may look for better price deals in other online stores, instead of staying loyal to old shopping trends and buying goods in traditional brick-and-mortar, stand-alone stores. The technology alters consumer behaviors little by little, but constantly and inevitably. This is a process that can be compared to the previous transition of large chain store’s replacing traditional mom-and-pop shops.
While mobile and online shopping is the growing trend, many consumers still value the in-store shopping experience and view high-street stores as a show room of various products, seeking the experience of actual in-store shopping, advisement, availability of tangible products, personalized service, and the overall unique experience that differs dramatically from online shopping. Even these types of consumers might use the in-store experience simply as exploration, fitting, or personal research, then order what they want online later. Yet, the in-store experience remains valuable and a desired part of the shopping process for many consumers. Therefore, both physical stores and virtual online shopping are important in the hybrid model of consumer behaviors nowadays.
The trend of consumers moving to the online and mobile methods of shopping isn’t new news, but as this trend continues to grow, it’s important to consider how it might be changing the in-store shopping experience in unexpected ways. Retailers of the future will need to address these changes in new and innovative ways.