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E-commerce vs Retail: How it changed the shopping experience!

· Omni-channel,E-commerce,Retail

The consumer shopping experience has changed significantly with the boom of e-commerce. Their shopping circle has expanded beyond the limit of physical locations into boundary-less e-commerce.

Where shopping in a store was once the predominant way to shop, online shopping is quickly becoming a preferred way to shop for consumers around the globe.

Put it this way, “People used to go shopping and now shopping comes to them.” Let it sink for a moment.

The consumer has the choice of where, when, and how to shop. A buyer can purchase a product online at midnight, receive it the next day, and then return it to a physical store if unhappy with the product.

Think about it this way: Why wait at a long queue at the cashier in a brick and mortar store, while you can simply browse your favorite products online, add them to the cart, and checkout in minutes?

Moreover, think about how smartphones have become a major part of e-commerce transactions. Customers go through reviews and research products in a matter of minutes and when they decide to buy, they want to pay in seconds and expect the items to be delivered as soon as possible.

For a second imagine a day when you just moved to a new city and need to refurbish your home, How long it would take to physically go out and do the whole shopping. Yes, it would in most cases took weeks. E-commerce has miraculously changed the weeks into minutes. From the refrigerator to utensils, from wardrobe to grocery, the whole shopping mall is in your hands.

Let’s look at some facts:

  • Business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce spending surpassed SAR 29.7 billion in 2016.

  • The typical online shopper in Saudi Arabia shops online at least once every three months, spending an average of close to SAR 4,000 on online shopping annually.

  • Although Saudi shoppers’ preference to make purchases through traditional channels remains high, a shift to online buying is rapidly gathering momentum.

Although online shopping seems to be the next big thing, we cannot deny the satisfying experience of visiting a brick and mortar store. Despite their many competitive advantages, online stores are still unable to offer a complete shopping experience. Consumers cannot touch, feel, smell, or even taste products in the digital sphere.

Stores will always be an important part of the retail equation. In fact, according to research by the IAB, 30% of direct-to-consumer brands say opening stores is a present priority. This is likely because, in retail categories like fashion, more than 70% of purchases are still made offline.

Customers look for and buy products when they want and how they want. They also want flexible and reliable shipments, whether it's in-store pick-up or ship to their homes. Customers have definitely gone digital, but they still enjoy the tactile and social interaction when they engage a brand in-store.

Conclusion

We started by explaining the convenience of e-commerce and later ended by the brick and mortar shopping experience, So what’s going on?

Let’s put it this way, while the shopping experience has significantly changed by the introduction of e-commerce, it is not complete. The humane attributes will always be missing.

The Answer?

A combination of both. Fortunately, retailers have realized this concept and are switching to the omnichannel. This is the only viable solution to this dilemma by crafting the complete shopping experience.

Retailers are serving customers on multiple fronts by letting the consumer interact with their physical brand with the addition of an online site/app for convenience. While the transition seems to be easy, it is rather very complex.

Here OTO plays a vital role by enabling retailers to fulfill and deliver their e-commerce orders from the nearest available physical store/warehouse to the customer. Our solution connects retailers with trusted, fully-integrated delivery companies to deliver packages in less than 2 hours inside cities, and 48 hours between cities! All of that with a single integration.

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