Study: Online buyers still faithful to brick and mortar retailers

Stefan Vitzithum

COO Brodos AG

According to a recent study conducted on behalf of e-matters, the future is not looking as gloomy for brick and mortar retail as is always predicted. Nearly all of the online internet users questioned in the representative survey stated that they still make a conscious decision to also make purchases offline. The majority of those asked deliberately choose to make purchases from specific retail stores: Namely stores in which they can count on receiving advice and services tailored to suit them.

High expectations of specialist retailers

However, retailers must do their homework, and must not just lie back and relax. Future success depends predominantly on certain specific factors, which our retailers have been promoting for years already, namely good advice and straightforward, competent after-sales service. More than 80% of those surveyed ranked after-sales service as an important quality indicator. This covers straightforward and competent processing of returns, exchanges, garantees and repairs.

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Expert advice is the decisive factor

Hard facts prevail when it comes to advice as well: Customers want targetted, efficient and expert advice. They also expect their personal requirements to be taken into account. At the end of the day, customers want to be left feeling that their needs and interests have been taken into consideration. As many as 57 percent value good advice, while 48 percent appreciate straightforward exchange options. Good service for guarantees and repairs play a significant role for 44 percent. This is followed by special offers and discount promotions (43 percent), friendly, approachable staff (41 percent), a pleasant atmosphere and shopping experience (38 percent) as well as personal discounts or great events.

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Actively exploit advantages

Kevin Besthorn, CEO of e-matters: “In my opinion, brick and mortar retailers should reach out and embrace those internet users who are determined to use retail stores. As well as the traditional advantage of being able to try out products directly in store and take them away immediately, retailers should in particular take care to meet the customers’ wish for expert advice before making a purchase followed up by efficient problem solving after the purchase has been made. For this to happen, brick and mortar retail has to be prepared to embrace change. In order to live up to the customers’ high expectations and requirements, sales staff have to always be up to speed on their products and immediately able to take action when it comes to offering service.”

The study reveals that advice will continue to play a significant role in the purchasing process in the future as well, remaining closely tied to brick and mortar retail. Even in the generation of the digital natives, the under 30 year olds, most share the opinion that when it comes to good product information and advice, brick and mortar retail is much superior to the internet.

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Standing out from the competition thanks to service and advice

When it comes to service and advice, our retailers can score thanks to the service cards we have especially designed for them. At the PoS they are not only able to shine with personal service and advice such as repairing mobile phones or transferring data, but can also draw this to the customer’s attention with our service cards, helping customers apprecitate the added value offered by the retailer even more.

If they are to be used successfully it is crucial that services and advice are actively offered, and that a conscious effort is made to mention them to customers. Physical service cards itemise services individually, showing the price for each specific service. The service cards can easily be positioned where they will catch the customer’s eye, for example on a revolving stand directly at the counter.

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Image: There are already 100’s of service cards in use.

Huge selection at the PoS thanks to brodos.net Kiosk

As the study shows, retailers can benefit above all by offering the entire product range and live availability at the PoS. This is not a problem for our retailers thanks to the brodos.net kiosk system, as our in-store kiosk offers more than 200,000 products for sale, automatically extending the retailer’s shelf space. With the long-tail portfolio, retailers can also offer products which are not actually available in stock in store. These can then be ordered by the customer and collected in store. The brodos.net kiosk combines the advantages of brick-and-mortar retail stores with the advantages of the internet by ensuring retailers can offer the largest possible product portfolio.

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Image: Thanks to brodos.net, local retailers can access over 200,000 products.