5 reasons why online shopping is going hybrid (online and in the ‘real world’)

Online shopping is going “hybrid”.

The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviewed Yuppiechef cofounder Andrew Smith.

He discusses what that means, and gave the following five reasons for why it’s happening:

98% of retail in SA still happens offline.

The proportion of retail that is happening online is growing, but it is still a small percentage of the total, and will be for a long time.

No matter how good you are at selling online; South Africa is still a relatively small market and there is a ceiling to growth.

Customers are no longer seeing brands as “offline” or “online”.

Customers expect every brand they interact with to have a strong online presence.

It would be weird to Google a restaurant (or airline, or sporting team, or mall, etc.) and not be able to interact with it online.

Similarly, customers expect to be able to shop online for the brands that they love and have traditionally shopped for in a store.

This has completely blurred the lines between “offline” and “online” retailers.

Customers won’t tolerate an “offline-only” retailer, and we don’t think they want an “online-only” retailer either.

For years people have been Googling “Yuppiechef stores in Sandton” or “Where is the Yuppiechef store in Durban?”

They don’t expect us to be online only.

A lot of purchasing is spontaneous.

Since the announcement on Monday we have been getting Facebook messages and tweets saying “Better not let my wife near this!” and “My wallet is going to burn!”

The interesting thing is that every product we will sell in our store is already available online, for the same price, with free delivery.

Why do people expect to suddenly blow their budgets with us?

Online shopping suits purchases that require a lot of research and price comparison, and then you swoop in and make a single purchase.

Shopping in a store is much more about browsing and finding things that you didn’t know you needed, or wanted.

We can provide both kinds of shopping to our customers.

Traditional retailers are struggling to evolve.

There is much debate about whether online retailers can pull off physical stores, and whether traditional retailers can create a good online experience.

Personally, I feel that traditional retailers have taken a very long time to embrace a digital era.

Even if they succeed in building an acceptable ecommerce site; they haven’t made much progress in creating truly omni-channel retail.

This leaves the door open for “better” overall retail, and online retailers have some key competencies that can deliver on this.

Trust is built in the real world.

Despite having worked on Yuppiechef for 11 years, and being one of the best known online retailers, we still meet people every day who have never heard of us, or who haven’t yet trusted us with a purchase.

Having physical stores is a valuable brand-building and trust-building exercise with us.

We are confident that even just walking past one of our stores will increase the likelihood of an online purchase happening at some point.

For more detail; listen to the interview in the audio below.

Click here (then “like” the page) to follow Bruce on Facebook.

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