Big Retailers Find New Ways to Encourage In-Store Sales
Online shopping—it’s convenient, affordable, fast, and effective. You can get the exact items you want with a few clicks of the keyboard, and everything arrives at your doorstep a few days later.
For big retailers though, ecommerce is a double-edged sword. It expands their customer base and lowers their overhead, but it doesn’t necessarily increase their profit margins. When shoppers are in stores, they are more likely to make impulse purchases and see items they may not have looked for on the website. They spend more money, take photos to share with their friends, and clear the shelves for more products in the future.
Retailers are taking unique steps to get people back in stores. Walmart has now changed the prices for some items on their website, offering lower prices in store than online. They say, “It simply costs less to sell some items in stores” and they “always work to offer the best price online relative to other sites.” Yet the added bonus of getting customers in the store to see other products may be the biggest driving force.
Retailers are also driving customers to their stores by processing returns for online purchases at physical locations. Some Kohl’s locations have begun processing returns for Amazon, and this month Walmart is launching a Mobile Express Returns program through their app. Customers can prepare returns for online orders through their phones and use an express lane in the store to complete the transaction.
Last year, almost 90% of consumers went to brick-and-mortar stores to return items purchased online. Even though the company is losing money at first glance, consumers often make a new purchase in the store that may be more expensive than the returned item.
With regards to the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend, 58% of retailers plan to make online shoppers their primary focus, while the remaining 42% are concentrating on in-store shoppers (RetailMeNot). Consumers plan to spend an average of $743 between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, a whopping 47% more than last year.