How Brick and Mortar Retailers Can Survive the Rise of E-commerce

For traditional brick and mortar retailers, the rise of e-commerce might seem like a major threat to business. Every year, more consumers choose to conduct transactions online by making purchases through smart devices, and physical stores are finding it difficult to stay competitive and keep their doors open.  With so many changes in the retail landscape, many business owners begin to wonder, how can brick and mortar stores compete with online retailers?

However, while the rise of technology might have created this problem for physical retail stores, it has also created a solution. By using a sales strategy called “click and collect”—which allows customers to buy products online and then retrieve those items from the physical store—brick and mortar retailers have regained footing in their fight against delivery giants like Amazon. With an omnichannel retail strategy, physical stores will be able to continue to thrive in our ever-changing digital world. 

How Big is the E-commerce Threat?

While online retailers have welcomed the paradigm shift from brick-and-mortar retail to online retail, companies that rely on physical stores to generate revenue have been reeling. The numbers explain why:

  • 25% of the world’s population—1.92 billion people—are expected to shop online in 2019. This number has increased every year for the past decade, and the trend is expected to continue. By 2012, 2.14 billion individuals are expected to shop online. 
  • Surveys show that the #1 reason that people have decided to embrace online shopping is because they can shop at all hours of the day—something that the vast majority of brick-and-mortar retail stores can’t provide.
  • Even while inside a physical store, 65% of shoppers are using their smartphones to compare prices with other locations.  
  • Before making a purchase, 85% of shoppers will research competing products. 

These numbers might be alarming for brick and mortar retailers, but that doesn’t mean that these businesses are going to be left in the dust. In order to survive the rise of e-commerce in today’s market, companies are going to have to adapt their sales strategy in ways that increase the convenience of the shopping and customer experience. 

Enter click and collect. 

What is Click and Collect?

Essentially, click and collect offers a synthesis of the online shopping experience and the in-store, traditional brick and mortar shopping experience. Consumers go online, and from their smartphones or computers order the items that they want, which they can then pick up in-store, or in smart locker systems such as those designed by Parcel Pending. 

Non-competitive stores may share locker systems, which means consumers can pick up their order from whatever location is closest to them. The benefits for both consumers and retailers are enormous and helps put brick and mortar retailers in a position to compete with massive online sellers. 

Benefits of Click and Collect for Shoppers

The bane of online shopping—which no retailer has been able to completely address—is the combination of missed deliveries and stolen packages. While many sellers may offer one-day shipments, the delivery often occurs in the middle of the day when no one is home. Consumers either need to rush home to pick up the package or hope their package won’t get stolen before they get back. 

Click and collect addresses this issue. Brick and mortar retailers can guarantee customers that their package will be secured in a safe location, and customers can pick up the package at their convenience. No stress, no problem.  

Benefits of Click and Collect for Retailers

For traditional retailers, the benefits of a click and collect system are even greater. 

The first thing that most brick and mortar retailers notice after implementing a click and collect system is the increase in foot traffic. While stores will still attract the odd passerby, click and collect will all but guarantee that more customers will be in the physical store at any given time. This benefit, while important on its own, leads directly to another upside. 

A study conducted by Cybertill found that 65% of customers who use click and collect to make purchases end up making additional purchases once they’ve entered the physical store. This drives home the importance of increased foot traffic. Most shoppers will enter the store, and after picking up their click and collect order, decide to do a little in-store shopping before they leave. 

For brick and mortar stores that are struggling to keep up with large, online retailers, this additional revenue can be the difference between a thriving business and one that’s hanging on by a thread. 

Final Thoughts on Click and Collect

All signs, stats, and trends point to a single truth: e-commerce is an unstoppable force. As more individuals begin to carry smartphones, the convenience offered by online shopping will continue to put a major dent in the revenue generated by brick and mortar locations. 

By using smart lockers like those designed by Parcel Pending, click and collect has emerged as the best way for these traditional retailers to compete and thrive given these enormous challenges.