If you have been shopping for a decade or more, you probably know how profoundly the online experience has changed the process of selecting and buying things. Online shopping is growing fast, it has proven to everyone that it is here to say, and for a few years now experts have been predicting the eventual demise of retail stores. However, retailers are not going down quietly. While some have adopted the online model, others are adapting rapidly and doing their best to convince the consumer that there really is no substitute for going to a store. Here are a few changes that have gathered steam in the retail industry in the last few months.
The Smartphone Change
More than just the internet, the innovation that has really hit retailers is the Smartphone App, which captures product barcodes and allows users to instantly locate customer reviews online, product availability in the neighborhood, and where the best deal is currently available. This has made the pitches delivered by some of the salespeople sound really fake. However, retailers have accepted this change, and a lot of them have put Smartphones in the hands of their own staff. So, now at many stores, salespeople will offer to produce instant research about your chosen product on their own phones, and if there is a better deal available anywhere else, they have the authority to lower their price and match the offer.
How Retailers are Matching Online Rates
Online shopping is cost-effective for consumers. Online sellers do not have to bear the expense of suppliers delivering stock to an actual store, so they can undercut the prices available at retail stores and still make a profit. This may sound like an insurmountable problem for retailers, but they are working hard behind the scenes to match online prices. New deals and arrangements are being worked out with suppliers, and this has brought down prices at several retail stores. Additionally, retailers are working hard to form arrangements with suppliers where certain products are available exclusively with stores, and cannot be purchased online. This will continue to tempt people to come out to shop.
Enhanced Customer Support
Finally, retailers have begun to realize that online shopping simply cannot replicate the kind of customer support and after-sale service that a store can offer. As a result, shops have really begun to enhance their customer service during and after sales. Go down to a mobile shop, and the salesperson will be quick to point out that in the case of a defect or problem, your online seller will not be of much help. With these changes, it certainly has begun to seem like online shopping can co-exist with the retail model.