Bridging The Gap Between Online and Offline Shopping

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by: Ilya Vedrashko

A couple of years ago, I posted a small blurb on Fast Company’s blog about how customer expectations of offline retail are being shaped by their online shopping experiences. Last month, Business Week published an article pretty much to the same effect: 
“The Internet hasn’t destroyed brick-and-mortar retailing, as many once
feared. But has it ever changed consumer behavior. Across the U.S.,
stores are playing catch-up with shoppers habituated not only to the
speed and convenience of purchasing online but also to the control it
gives them.”

Here’s my in-store experience wish list:

1. Cross-selling of relevant and complementary products (if you like this, you will also like that and that)
Customer reviews. Somewhat counterintuitively, many product categories
will benefit from negative reviews just as well as from the positive
ones. Negative reviews help buyers overcome the “paradox of choice” and
make up their mind faster instead of abandoning the purchase
altogether. Plus, less post-purchase remorse and fewer returns. I would
especially love a way to check GameSpot reviews before plunking another
$50 for a game.
3. Online ordering + in-store pick-up.
4. Full product info look-up, including the manuals.
5. Bookmarking / “save for later” functionality.

gotta act quick if they want to have some control over the converging
experiences. In a few years, people will be carrying web browsers in
their pockets and won’t be needing all this retail innovation. Then
they would go to Barnes & Noble to browse books and order the ones
they like on Amazon right from the store.

On a related note, I really like the idea behind Target Lists.

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