Bricks and Bits: Retail Shopping Online and Off

Technology has changed the way we shop. CMO.com reports that online retail sales will grow to $370 billion by 2017. Mobile devices allow your customers to research products on the shelf in front of them.

It’s a brave new world, and there are pros and cons to the digital experience.

Online shopping has better hours. A consumer can sit in front of the computer any time, day or night, and shop. No traffic, weather or parking hassles. Often, customers can find a wider selection of items online, along with better prices when they use coupons from a reputable discount site.

Distance doesn’t matter. No one is limited to the stores in their neighborhood or city. Anyone can shop anywhere in the world, and fast – just a few clicks and the purchase is made.

Sometimes, though, shoppers want a social aspect – and we’re not talking about perusing reviews on Yelp. Brick and mortar shopping allows a level of product interaction and sales expertise that is oftentimes unavailable online.

Knowledgeable salespeople are an advantage. Customers can ask questions (particularly important when shopping for specific, expert-fueled items like ski equipment or electronics). A good sales team can help close deals that would otherwise be skipped online because the available info is just too vague.

Touch still matters. The sensory experience of seeing, touching and, if applicable, trying on the item remains crucially important. No guessing whether or not the color and size are correct.

Wrap it up and take it home. The customer gets the satisfaction of bringing a purchase home. No waiting and no expensive fees for expedited delivery.

Buy local! There’s a growing movement to support local businesses in communities across the U.S. A good online deal is nice – but sometimes, it’s nicer to make sure your money stays on Main Street.

No matter how you define business success, we can help you achieve it. Northwest’s Merchant Services, powered by First Data,** offers complete end-to-end payment processing and information solutions. Whatever your needs, we can tailor the right solution to help your business succeed.  Check out our Cash Management page to learn more about Merchant Services.

**Third-party service provider not affiliated with Northwest. All trademarks, service marks and trade names referenced in this material are the property of their respective owners.