The 'In-Store' Experience
Online store, Amazon is expanding their business formally into Australia this year, with the company planning to be fully established by the end of 2018. Online stores have put an increasing pressure on brick and mortar businesses. The arrival of Amazon will shake up the Australian online market and place further pressure on local businesses.
Glenferrie Hawthorn is home to many small local businesses that must now think of strategies to compete with online giants such as Amazon. The company is the largest global retailer of online goods, holding a monopoly in online sales, selling anything from books, machinery, clothing to fresh food. In the USA alone during 2016 nearly half of all online retail sales went through Amazon. The company has grown to immense proportions with the ethos that “your margin is my opportunity”. Their expansionist tactics have generated their status as a global empire who consumers turn to for low prices, never ending options and incredibly fast delivery. In Europe and the USA most Amazon orders are shipped and delivered to consumers within the day.
Unique to brick and mortar businesses is the customer interaction both face-to-face with the retailer and with the products. When it comes to products the customer in-store experience is essential to competing with the enticing online offer of low prices and convenience. Customer experience is about being greeted when you walk through the door, having a chat about your day and receiving advice, guidance and help with your purchase. Customers go to specific locations for clothing, food and other goods and frequent the same shops thanks to the face-to-face interactions with retailers. When shopping online there is no room for in-person customer service or the little things that come with knowing your local traders. Quality and finish is also an important factor when shopping. If shopping for clothing you can try things on in-store and have a better idea of how the material feels and how it fits, instead of online shopping where you run the risk of not receiving what you had expected. Using 'Amazon Fresh' for food delivery is also risky as you aren’t able to pick the fruit you normally would when you’re able to hold it and see how ripe and fresh it may be.
Convenience is a very important thing for most people in 2017 but there are some things that you just can't get from online shopping. Humans are sensory social animals. The need for human interaction should ensure the survival of brick and mortar businesses that provide this and help the ‘shop local’ movement to prevail.