Online Shopping vs Offline Shopping

Estimated Reading Time 11 minutes

Online has not killed the high street any more than video has killed the radio star.” How true do you think this is?

It’s no secret that high street brands are losing momentum often from failing to keep up with the digital age… Obviously demand has a part to play in this, but a large factor to consider is how the brand is keeping up with online marketing. It is crazy to think that online shopping has existed for around 24 years! Amazon.com was one of the first to launch an online shopping site in 1995, closely followed by eBay.

amazons first ever website home page

If you’re reading this thinking that online sales can’t impact the high street brands enough to cause them to close, maybe this is because you are an online browser who prefers to touch, feel and purchase products in store. But let’s face up to reality, it’s no secret that it is intensely important for retailers to evolve with the way that customers shop and how online shopping is reshaping the physical shopping experience.

Why is online thriving?

Over half of the UK’s population who own a computer are guilty of online shopping.  Specifically 43.5 million people shop online. That alone is evidence of how important online shopping is and how powerful being online can be. It is blatant that social media has had a huge influence on these statistics and also promotes how important social media is for your business. . Social media is another way for store owners to reach a huge audience and also allows people to share their consumer passions and stories. There has been a huge increase of independent business owners creating Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter accounts to promote their products and services, and ONLY using these channels as means to make sales. This can range from retail all the way through to art! Brands have noticed how effective social media can be

What is driving a successful online shopping experience?

Yes, social media is really important, but so is your actual website. Your user journey is vitally important to turn browsers into buyers. So, what are the main factors for comparing online to offline shopping?

Easy mobile checkouts

Shock! Mobile traffic is still on the rise! Your website needs to be able to adapt to different devices and not fault in the process. Mobile shopping is growing at a rate of 13% year on year. There are many factors that have caused this however something that has really upped the game for mobile is Apple Pay. Apple pay allows the buying experience to be very painless, as there is no need to enter your card details or have that annoying hunt for your cards, but just use your fingerprint (or eyes)! Hassle free and secure!

Advertising

Online advertising is hitting new heights. Ads such as Google Shopping campaigns are very effective and usually convert much better than search campaigns. This is due to the fact that people are able to compare prices right on the search page and, therefore, a click is more likely to turn into a conversion. Additionally, people will see an image of the product before the click and as we know visuals are a great conversion driver. You only need a product feed to be linked up with your Google Ads account to be able to run ads on every item of your ecommerce shop. This saves you from a lot of setup time and it allows you to find potentially profitable items quickly. However in order to appear for the right searches at the right time it takes time and skill to optimise your feed and break out strategies per product to yield the highest return on ad spend (ROAS).  For help getting your Shopping campaigns set up for the best return, get in touch learn more

Re-marketing

You may have good volumes of visitors coming to your website, you can maximize the effectiveness of this traffic by remarketing to users who came to your site via your shopping campaign but did not convert. These visitors are more likely to convert on a second visit because they already know your brand. To encourage them to convert, you could create a tailored offer, and work at being a top-of-mind choice for their purchases. Using the display network functionalities of Google Ads, you can create a custom remarketing campaign for visitors who came to your site via a previous shopping campaign.

Anywhere, any time

One of the most desirable things about shopping online is that you can pretty much do it anywhere. As long as you have the connection then you able to shop anywhere, only having to lift a finger for Apple Pay. According to OuterBox 62% of smartphone users have made a purchase online using their mobile device in the last 6 months.
Bearing in mind that you can shop online anywhere, this also implies that you can do it at any time! The Internet doesn’t close at certain times like high street shops do. This allows consumers to constantly consume, and consume when ever they want!

Online exclusivity

If you go on to websites like ASOS.com, you will see multiple brands being sold. You can scroll for days, the website is huge. You might also come across this;

exclusively online

 

‘Online exclusive’ suggests it is an exclusive product and that there is a limited number of product available, and if you don’t buy it quickly you’ll never see it again. In direct contrast, stores can do the same and say ‘in store only’, which also works, however I feel like this is a technique that is tactically copied and implemented online.

According to Space48, ASOS.com ‘has given consumers even more incentives to shop online, using handy sizing tools and features to ease the decision-making process and a generous returns policy that takes some of the fear factor out of buying clothes that may not fit when they try them on for the first time at home. It all makes the online and mobile shopping experience quicker and more convenient. Especially during peak sales periods, such as the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend, where lots of great deals are available online without having to face the mayhem and queues at the high street stores and shopping centers.’

In conclusion,

We have seen a couple of large business’ that have fallen in the trap of not evolving with technology, which has ultimately resulted in closures of stores across the UK. High street shopping faces a multitude of challenges and it would be ignorant to blame it all on online, however it would be naive to also say online hasn’t had any impact the high street, whether that be negative or positive depends on your outlook.

 

 

 

 

Verity Smith
Verity graduated from Brighton University and is working within content creation and social media at Digital Clarity. With time spent at agency DWA and technology group Limelight, Verity brings a creative approach to projects, blended with a commercial aspect that is underpinned, with her ability to analyse campaign data. Verity is a keen horse rider and fashionista.
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