Offline Retail: Consumer's expectations in Today's time

E-commerce only accounts for less than 3% of the Indian retail market
offline

For any business, understanding its customer’s demand and expectations is indispensable. The expectations of customers are drivers of sales in any business. The slump or spike in sales and revenue depends on discounts, post-purchase satisfaction, etc. With customers becoming digitally empowered and technology savvy, Offline retailers too are taking a big leap by tapping the power of data, technology, and smartphones.

If we are to assess customer’s expectations in today’s time, customers not only expect innovation in terms of product but in service too. From personalization to data protection, customers want it all. With data breaches at its peak, brick-and-mortar stores are still a safe and preferred choice among customers. Apart from data safety,Offline retailers are ensuring that Shopping in-store offers the same rather better experience, information, and product choices. As per Research and Markets report on India Retail Market Analysis: Online-Offline Convergence, Business Innovation & Roadmaps 2019 to 2025, e-commerce only accounts for less than 3% of the Indian retail market. As a matter of fact, customers today are using different channels in conjunction. From viewing the inventory on the website to heading physical store for making actual purchases, customers resort to offline shopping quite often.

According to the EY Report, Online sales are continuing to grow around the world, but the fact remains that brick-and-mortar stores are still the venue where the vast majority of shopping takes place. And this is likely to remain the case for years to come.There are several reasons for offline storesstill being a popular choice among buyers. Shopping is a personally rewarding experience, a ritual of sorts, which is largely dependent on the sense of touch, smell and sight. The touch, smell, and sight are factors that majorly draw a customer to brick-and-mortar stores and influence their decision to buy something. The euphoria of walking to a store, trying out a product and determining its actual worth is an irreplaceable experience that offline shopping offers. The social aspect associated with offline shopping especially in a country like India where shopping is a fun time to bond with the family and is incomplete without taking each other’s feedback makes offline shopping a present-day boon. In 2019, e-retail sales accounted for 14.1 percent of all retail sales worldwide. Not only does it offers a zero waiting time but also provides assurance about the quality of product. For example there is number of Bluetooth speakers available online but the actual worth to your penny can be assured only when it reaches your hands. In offline you get your hands on products before the purchase whereas in case of online it is after a certain period -post-purchase.The immensely gratifying above features of offline shopping make offline retail very much prevalent among shopaholics.

In the hustle-bustle of today’s fast-paced life, customers tend to resort to easy and convenient transactions. The traditional shopping is easy and at your convenience. Unlike online shopping, there is no worry about who will receive the product, guiding the courier guy to your home or office address in the midst of a busy day and dealing with those return policies. Deloitte’s report on future of e-commerce, mentions the challenges as,” Though the e-commerce sector is growing exponentially in India, it faces several challenges like customer mindset, high cash on delivery (CoD) based orders, reachability, poor courier services, and other policy-related issues”. In offline you simply go to the store, purchase the product as per your suitability and you are sorted. The rewards that offline market offers are cherry on the cake. The promos and the discount that offline retailers provide are in sync to your purchase history as they are designed especially as per customer’s buying pattern. The offers that e-commerceprovides are often of no benefit to the customer as they are not relevant to every customer purchasing power. In fact, it sometimes misleads them to spend more than they desire.

With Offline retailers perfectly blending digital and physical worlds to provide seamless experience to its customers, Traditional shopping clearly has an edge. By mixing technology and social gameplay, offline retail offers a glitch-free experience across sectors.

The article has been penned down by Himank Tripathi,Head of Communications, magicpin

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