Facing intense competition from online, brick and mortar retailers are terrified of being reduced to “showrooms” — meaning that people come to the store to test out their products then order the cheaper version later.
But according to a recent Forrester study, these fears are blown way out of proportion.
Analyst Sucharita Mulpuru explains:
“Forrester’s forecast suggests that many consumers may in fact nonetheless choose to purchase products in stores because of the immediate availability of products, service levels associated with buying in stores, or because of the fact that the products online do not have significant benefit over those in stores. As long as pricing is generally comparable across channels, consumers are unlikely to switch to another retailer or channel.”
Mulpuru predicts that by 2016, nearly half of all brick and mortar customers will have done research online before they set foot in the store.
This is good news for Best Buy, which has long been cited as an example of a store used only as a showroom for websites like Amazon. If Forrester’s research is right, customers are still seeking out the immediate gratification of shopping at a store.
Here’s a graph showing Mulpuru’s predictions for “cross channel” retailing–in-store buying influenced by the web–over the next few years.
Photo: Forrester Research
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