Is it i-Street or the high street? That is the dilemma that all business owners with a product to sell are having to wrestle with. The question is, should they take their products online and stop having to pay high street rental amounts, utility overheads and business tax, or should they continue with the traditional selling method of in person and face to face with their customers.
A New Way To Shop
Technology is definitely re-shaping high street – and some say it is even destroying it. It is certainly changing the way that many people shop these days. Some of it comes down to the idea called Show-Rooming. This is where consumers use their phones as they are out shopping so they can check to see if they can purchase the same goods for a lower price online or somewhere else. The design agency Foolproof conducted a survey where one out of five consumers state that they only go inside a shop in order to check something out that they are intending to purchase online.
How To Turn A Negative Into A Positive
However, while all of this can be concerning for those of us who have showrooms and shops, it can also be something we use as a positive. People still like to have show rooms to visit so that they can get a good look at products before making a purchase, and when it comes to certain products like fabrics where color and feel are very important, for the consumer a showroom is critical so that they know precisely what they are buying. A photo online can’t give the complete sense of how a material is going to look in real life. Also, the figure quoted above can be turned on its head: maybe one out of five may purchase the product later online, four out of five will still make their purchase at a shop.
Serve All Markets
However, it is critically important that today’s businesses recognize how important it is to serve both the shopper inside the showroom and online consumer. Technology that makes visualization possible will become an important part of many businesses. The use of 3-D technology might allow consumers to play with ideas initially to see how different color schemes may look inside their homes and then visit the show room in order to make their final choices.
A Winning Combination
When online technology is combined with real shops or showrooms, a retailer can not only have a good presence locally but develop their global customer base as well. It can be very reassuring to have both an online presence and physical presence. When a customer is about to make an expensive purchase, they may do a lot of their initial research online, but also come into the show room to get the personal touch as well.
A Changing Landscape
Although it is still in its early days, online shopping is definitely making dramatic changes to the retail landscape. First of all, we need to continue to evolve our products and services in order to serve and attract the new generation of consumers. Those consumers might visit the showroom in order to get a product’s physical experience but then make changes and amendments to their order, or maybe go somewhere else to purchase their goods. Or maybe they will do research online but still show up at the showroom to make their final buying decision.
But either way, the Show-Rooming practice and showroom are here to stay.