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E-commerce goes offline

Despite the dynamic growth of e-commerce, more and more online stores in the American market open their outlets in shopping centres. Omnichannel retailing is the key to successful development.

Millennials are the largest consumer group in the United States (over 80 million people). When it comes to shopping, the Internet plays a crucial role in their decision-making process. However, the customers still enjoy spending their free time in shopping centres and highly appreciate personal service, advice and assistance. What is more, young Americans prefer buying some products, such as shoes or cosmetics, in traditional stores rather than on the web. Most of them use the Internet as a source of information, e.g. about electronic equipment, but they make their final decisions in brick-and-mortar outlets, after checking the product’s functionality.

“We can then assume that despite a dynamic growth of e-commerce, customers are still willing to shop in malls. This provides an opportunity of growth for the owners of omnichannel stores. By integrating their online and offline sales channels, they can not only present their products range, but also make it possible for their customers to order the merchandise everywhere in the world via mobile devices,” said Renata Kusznierska, Head of Retail CEE, DTZ.

Retailers in both the American and the Polish markets are aiming to serve their customers faster, which is why the option of overnight delivery is more and more often available. Depending on their preference, the customer can either choose to have the goods delivered at home, or pick them up at the outlet in a shopping mall, which allows them to check if the ordered product meets their expectations.

This year, more and more online stores have opened their outlets in American shopping centres, hoping to get more customers and so increase their profits. This trend could be followed by Polish brands, which may choose to open showrooms or pop-up stores. It may prove especially beneficial for companies which are just entering the market and want to spread brand awareness among potential customers. The owners of retail schemes will also benefit, as they can commercialise the formerly unused space.

To sum up, positive experiences of the consumers in online stores will encourage them to stop by a retail outlet, and the other way around: if the customers enjoy their visit to a traditional store, they are likely to look up the online version. So, in order for the retail industry to grow in the following years, it will be vital to provide the new generation of consumers with a consistent and attractive service both online and offline.

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