There’s lots of hype over e-commerce, but consumers aren’t saying goodbye to brick-and-mortar stores.
That was one of the main messages from the 19th Annual Global Retailing Conference, held April 22-24 in Tucson, Ariz. The event, which drew about 300 retail industry professionals, was hosted by the University of Arizona’s Terry J. Lundgren Center for Retailing.
The retailing experts also said businesses need to understand that customers have already conducted much of their research online before stepping into a store to make a purchase.
Hence, it’s become ever more important for retailers to connect with potential customers online to influence their buying journey.
“Winning the war for traffic today is about winning digital influence before a purchase is made,” Margo Georgiadis, president of Americas at Google said in a UANews report. “There is no online and offline. We have to commit to all-line.”
Georgiadis said nine out of 10 retail transactions still occur in stores.
The message was emphasized by Terry J. Lundgren himself, a UA graduate who is chairman, president and CEO of Macy’s. In his presentation “Stores are the New Black,” Lundgren said the future of retail will blend physical and digital channels to become a “digical” experience for shoppers.
In other news from the conference, the Washington Post reports that research from MasterCard shows that Americans are spending in different ways since the Great Recession. According to MasterCard executive Sara Quinlan, time-strapped and stressed out Americans are spending more on things like restaurant dining and air travel. People are still buying big-ticket items as well, but are taking their time to research purchases.
Also, Americans have cut down on the number of credit cards in their wallets, from eight before the recession to four today on average, according to Quinlan.