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Technology is on a high rise in our society; new phones and devices are coming out every day and if you ever need anything, “there’s an app for that”. One would think because of all the technological advances and convenience, no one would ever feel the need to visit a physical store again. This assumption is far from correct. In fact, despite the strong Ecommerce world we live in, people prefer to do their shopping in retail stores.
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Why is In-Store Shopping Preferred?
Shopping is looked at as more of a social experience and form of entertainment rather than a chore. People use shopping as a reason to get out of the house and have a good time with friends, family, or just yourself! There’s a certain enjoyment about being around other people, instead of being alone at your computer or smartphone. Even if someone doesn’t buy anything at a store, window shopping is still a thrill within itself. Sometimes people even go to stores and malls specifically not to buy anything, but just to get out and people watch. Since technology is at such a high, people feel like they need to take a break from it once in a while, and what better way to do it than going shopping at your local indie store?
People don’t only go shopping at retail stores for the social aspect. There are also certain conveniences about visiting the store itself. One major plus about shopping at the family owned stores is that consumers get their product immediately. Generation Y is very into instant gratification. Why buy something online and wait for shipping if you could drive a few miles and pick it up yourself? In addition to waiting for your item to be shipped, consumers don’t like the idea of paying for shipping either. Now, what if there’s same-day shipping available or free shipping is offered? This does not solve all the issues, because if someone works all day and are not able to receive packages in a secure way at home, shopping at independent stores would be his or her preference.
One would think that buying your clothes online while sitting on your couch is much more convenient than going to the actual store, but the process isn’t that straight forward. When you order something online you never know how it’s truly going to fit until you receive it. Now, what if that article of clothing doesn’t fit or that smartphone case is a different hue than in the picture? Then you need to return it. You’ll have to print a shipping label (unless the store provided one for you) and perhaps even pay for shipping. If you destroyed your box while opening it, you’ll now need to find or purchase a new one. Then you’ll have to go to the post office, return it and hope they receive it alright. Not only that, but now you’ll have to find that product in the correct size or color. Now this may seem like the whole returning process is being blown out of proportion but when you compare it to buying something in a store, the process is actually much longer. If something doesn’t fit in the store, you just don’t buy it; that easy, no returns necessary.
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Is Ecommerce Pointless?
Let’s not take Ecommerce completely out of the picture. The popular shopping trend in Generation Y’ers is that they do their research and price comparisons online, but do their purchasing at the store itself. This is when your website and customer service is very important! Since Generation Y does a lot of shopping and they research the product beforehand, you want them to be researching YOUR product as opposed to someone else’s. Now how do you do that? You want to make sure you have excellent customer service with a lot of experience. If a consumer feels like they’re not being helped properly, they will leave your site and check out another one. You also want to create a unique shopping experience so your website pops out from all the rest. You can do this by the design of the site and/or simply by carrying unique products.
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How Does Social Media Tie In?
It’s becoming more and more popular to check social media before buying a new product. Generation Y’ers want to see what the company stands for and make sure it doesn’t clash with their own beliefs. They also want to have a relationship with the brand because they feel like they are personally investing in a brand by purchasing their products. Therefore, make sure your company is up and with it in the social media buzz because that will bring you more website visits, leading to more foot traffic.
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How is Generation Y Different?
First of all, there are SO many Generation Y’ers; there are 80 million consumers ages 18-35. This has a big impact on retailers because Generation Y spends $200 billion a year on shopping! A survey was conducted with 1251 Generation Y’ers and it showed that only 4% of the 1251 hated shopping. The rest of them either said they enjoy or love shopping. That’s why so much money is spent on shopping a year; because there’s so many people, and so many of them love to shop! The survey also showed that more than half of the group goes to retail stores at least once a month. In addition, 45% spend at least an hour a day on retail websites; yes, I said an hour a DAY.
So, small retailers don’t be discouraged about the strong rise in Ecommerce; consumers prefer shopping in your store! Just make sure to build a strong and unique retail website and get involved in social media so consumers can relate to your brand, want to invest in it, search on your website and buy in your store.
Here are the resources that inspired the topic of this article; check them out if you want to learn more