On Thanksgiving weekend during the peak holiday shopping season in 2016, 108.5 million Americans shopped online which was over 10% more than the number that shopped offline, on brick and mortar stores, numbering 99.1 million according to the National Retail Federation. Never before, had the number of online shoppers been more than those who preferred shopping in a conventional manner, on brick and mortar stores. This is a turning point in marketing and it is expected to continue overtaking the number of offline shoppers in the future.
The other important aspect of these statistics is that, around 82% of the shoppers would like to purchase directly from brands if they have an option. So, how are brands adjusting to this new reality and are they developing their websites and portals well enough to tap this flood of new customers looking to buy online from brands directly? Strangely, the answer is no, because right now just a few major brands are making use of this opportunity. Change takes time, but unfortunately for most brands today, the sooner they adjust to the new internet reality, the better prepared they will be to gain from that.
Many brands are just happy to link their ads to certain marketplace sites which are like superstores that host numerous brands under a single roof. There’s nothing wrong with taking up space in a marketplace but that should not be done at the cost of setting up your own online store space in your website or better still, a website exclusively for your brand. It’s understood that building and sustaining offline exclusive stores for your brand across multiple locations is a huge challenge but hosting an online store is comparatively easy and important for you, it will be accessible anywhere in the world. Just plan your delivery logistics well.
It doesn’t really make good business sense to not have your customers buy your products from your own website. Why would you send your customers away to another online superstore to buy your product when that can be easily done on your website? Pack your digital outreach, with informative content and videos as well as communicate on social media channels to reach out to your customers. Get them onto your site to not just look up what they require but also encourage them to make purchase decisions and complete their transactions on your website. That’s the way to leverage the rising flow of customers wanting to buy online.