Three Brick-and-Mortar Opportunities for Retailers in an Online World

Three Brick-and-Mortar Opportunities for Retailers in an Online World

It seems like every retailer has experimented with some sort of omnichannel in-store offering lately. Kohls recently announced that it will enable Amazon returns in-store, Amazon opened several physical locations within the last year, and Nordstrom now offers brick-and-mortar guideshops with no actual inventory.

For many retailers and brands, ecommerce is the clearest path to sales growth, so why are so many retailers still making significant investments in the offline world? Many are hoping to differentiate themselves by creating unique in-store experiences that drive foot traffic.

By offering in-store perks in addition to intuitive online channels, retailers can capture sales and loyalty from customers who may be tempted to turn to competitors. What’s more, retailers can cross-sell and upsell customers who enter physical stores to take advantage of these experiences.

Top in-store retail trends of 2017

In a highly competitive industry, retailers can gain an edge by using brick-and-mortar locations as more than just a sales channel. Here are a few of the top in-store retail trends of 2017:

  • In-store pickup: Shipping online orders to or from a physical store benefits both the retailer and the customer. Customers want the ability to pick up orders in-store if it means they can receive their order faster and pay lower shipping costs. UPS estimates that nearly half of all consumers have used ship-to-store options.

In-store pickup is also beneficial to the retailer. Not only does it cost less to ship directly to physical stores, but also about 44 percent of customers make additional purchases when they come in-store to pick up an order.

Ship-to-store options have been successful for many major retailers this year. About one-third of Best Buy’s online orders are picked up in-store, while Target’s stores fulfill more than 40 percent of its online orders .

  • Return ecommerce orders to stores: Ease of return influences many online purchase decisions. Pure-play online retailers that do not have physical stores to accept returns may lose a competitive edge to those that do. That’s why some e-retailers partner with third-parties, such as FedEx or Kinkos, to enable these in-store returns.

Kohl’s, for example, recently announced that it will accept Amazon returns in-store. This partnership is beneficial for both retailers: it drives more foot traffic for Kohl’s and enables Amazon to offer this perk for consumers who may shy away from purchases due to the inability to return in-store.

  • Differentiated in-store experiences: Many retailers also use their brick-and-mortar stores to offer differentiated experiences and create buzz.

Nordstrom, for example, opened Nordstrom Local stores in an effort to provide engaging shopping experiences. These stores do not sell physical inventory in-store. Instead, the stores offer luxurious services such as beer and wine, tailoring or manicures. While enjoying these experiences, customers can speak to experts about the latest trends and place orders online.

Trunk Club is another great example of a retailer offering unique in-store experiences. Trunk Club customers enter the store for fitting and style advice only, and place all of their orders online to be delivered either directly to their homes or to the store at a lower cost.
CommerceHub can make all of these options easier and more affordable by enabling drop shipping, a technique through which brands and other suppliers ship products directly to customers on behalf of the retailer — whether it’s to the retailer’s location or their homes. CommerceHub also gives retailers increased transparency into the fulfillment and shipping process to ensure that deliveries arrive on time and that customers remain happy.

Learn more about CommerceHub’s drop shipping offerings for retailers today.