The Value of the In-Person Experience

Posted by Joshua Brueckner on October 23, 2018

From powerful brand exposure to closing more sales, offline retail is a massive opportunity for makers to tap into.

Humans have been physically purchasing goods inside of stores for the last two plus centuries. It wasn’t until relatively recently that the internet emerged and ecommerce became the new norm of shopping. While there’s tons of value in selling online (like giving customers 24/7 access and the ability to better shop by price), research proves that activating an in-person transaction can provide an effective customer journey that not only leads to larger purchases, but increases customer lifetime value.

 

 

Forbes believes

80% of all sales will be done in-store by year 2025.

Cynical critics have their fair share of opinions about physical retail, but the “retail apocalypse” narrative couldn’t be further from the truth. According to Hong Kong-based supply chain management organization, Li & Fung, brick and mortar store openings have actually grown by more than 50% year over year. This is why emerging and established brands like Casper, Allbirds, and Amazon are investing more and more offline. It’s also why Google recruited b8ta to build and launch their Made by Google experience inside several of our stores nationally.

According to a consumer survey by Retail Dive

56% of shoppers say they visit stores to first see, touch and feel products before buying them online.

Online shopping offers ease of purchase, but it limits your customer’s ability to buy with confidence. By selling in-person your shoppers can make decisions on products, not through fancy marketing or customer reviews, but through tactile discovery done firsthand. A solid and trained retail staff makes all the difference because they become the storytellers and craft the experience for your guests. And lastly, buying in-person eliminates shipping times and cost—a major hurdle for brands heavy into ecommerce.

The International Council of Shopping Centers reports that

Emerging brands see a 45% web traffic boost with physical stores.

We think very highly of brick and mortar retail at b8ta, but it’s not a discredit to the power of selling online. As a matter of fact, we’re part of the school of thought that believes your store can serve as an interactive billboard to showcase your products and create immersive experiences (read our post on properly organizing store events). From there, shoppers should have the freedom to choose how and when they purchase, whether that’s right there in the store or another day online. All of this to say: how your customers purchase and where they receive should not be a higher priority than giving them the best journey possible.


The takeaway for product makers is that your offline retail presence is one of the best ways to activate your brand strategy. An experiential showroom allows for product discovery and creates a powerful testing playground for interaction. Engaging with your shoppers directly is a valuable tool that enables brands to better manage the customer journey and create advocates for life.

 


 

b8ta is Retail as a Service: you provide the vision, we provide the retail experience that meets your needs. With our retail subscription models you can scale up or down as your business grows or pivots. Set up shop for the consumers you want, we do the rest. Learn more at b8ta.com/sell.