Shopping Experience for a Customer
Let us see how the shopping experience differs for a customer at a brick & mortar vs an online store.
Ecommerce: Images, videos, and descriptions for product information
Retail: Physical interaction with a product
At a brick-and-mortar store, buyers can physically interact with a product to determine if it fits their requirements. It helps in making a faster buying decision.
With ecommerce stores, physical product interaction is not available. However, customers can learn about products with high-quality images, videos, and product descriptions. With evolving technology, there are many interactive options like 360-degree views and virtual try-on, for a full product interaction.
Ecommerce: Speak or chat with human customer service representatives during customer service hours or chatbots after hours
Retail: Communicate face-to-face with an employee
At retail stores, you can talk to a service representative face to face and get instant answers.
E-commerce websites have great service options too. Customer interaction is available 24 hours, with some companies having shifts of employees working around the clock. Many companies have chatbots to answer basic questions after service hours.
Ecommerce: Shop 24/7
Retail: Shop only during store hours
This is one of the greatest advantages that e-commerce retailers have over traditional brick and mortar stores. At retail stores, customers can only shop during store hours. The sales time window is limited to your store hours.
With ecommerce, customers can shop online anytime, according to their convenience. All they need is an internet connection and a computer or mobile.
Ecommerce: Buy products from anywhere.
Retail: Need to travel to the store.
This is another advantage that e-commerce retailers have over traditional stores. Even before the current COVID situation, the need for travel to a shop could turn a buying decision from retail store to an online store.
Customers will look for maximum convenience, and online purchases give them the comfort of shopping from their internet connected devices within the comfort and safety of their own homes.
Ecommerce: Easy search for required products
Retail: Time-consuming and may need assistance from service representatives to find products.
Again, e-commerce scores over retail stores when it comes to searching for a product. At a retail store, customers have to search through aisles to find what they need, or may need the assistance of customer service personnel.
With E-commerce websites, customers can easily type a product name into the search bar and find what they need quickly. With customizations and advanced technology, it is possible to streamline searches further for online stores.
Ecommerce: Fast product comparisons with technology
Retail: Product comparison takes time
At retail stores, customers need to physically inspect products to make a comparison of prices or specifications. Also, some products may have different brands available at different shops.
With e-commerce, online stores provide an easy comparison of product prices and specifications. Also, you can easily make comparisons from different sellers. The flip side is customers may abandon the product cart, if they find a better product than what you offer.
Ecommerce: Fast shopping
Retail: Shopping time is more
E-commerce has a faster shopping experience than retail outlets since customers don’t need to travel, and can search for a product faster, and make easier comparisons.
Ecommerce: Needs time fora product to arrive
Retail: Immediate possession
At retails stores, customers can take immediate possession of a product, unless they have placed an order for an out-of-stock item.
With e-commerce, the product needs to be shipped and takes time to arrive.
E-commerce giants like Amazon and Target do offer two-day shipping for fast delivery of products. Many online retailers also have local warehouses for popular products to get products to consumers as fast as possible. Many customers prefer to wait for a product to arrive as a trade-off for a fast shopping process.
Retail Seller Experience