Online shopping is here to stay. The pandemic served to expedite the decline of brick and mortar—nearly a third of all sales were trending toward E-commerce prior to the COVID-19. However, the innate longing for in-store experiences has not died away. This online buying frenzy has taught customers to search and secure products at the best prices. But consumers will enter retail establishments armed with insider internet information—best quality, best innovations and the best promotions.
Consumers also want engagement at both levels, with E-commerce driving them to the store. They’re not afraid of shopping in person. They’re more afraid of not being kept abreast of the latest and greatest products and deals.
Major US retailers’ online sales are reportedly up 30% versus pre-pandemic levels. Online revenue reached 20-40% of total sales for many major retailers. Yet, the online phenomenon drives consumers to the sales floor.
The “New Normal” requires both channels. Consumers experiment online and learn more about new skincare and hair care therapies without leaving their homes. They also will appreciate the home delivery and expedited transactions.
Consumers want to get back out into the world. OTCs must invite them in. Invite them in by meeting them online. Offer them shopping online with an attractive return policy. Invite them to become a partner with reward programs. Offer invites to private in-store promotions. Across the globe, the online experience is personal and intimate. After three clicks, consumers feel wanted. Why not have a virtual relationship that drives them to the store? The pandemic has created a worldwide initiative to seek lesser-known innovations without pilling on excessive inventory. In short, E-commerce has forced all retailers to re-think their business model—online versus in-store. There is no one logical choice. Using E-commerce to drive traffic is the only choice.