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Brick and mortar still holds its charm despite e-commerce boom

Nishant Makkar
19th Jan 2018
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In the absence of the traditional concept of seeing the product before paying for it, many customers remain reluctant to be swayed by the e-commerce industry.

Try before you buy

With the wave of digitalisation prevailing in the nation and virtual becoming the reality of most industries and sectors, it is the shopping world that still holds an inclination towards the brick-and-mortar store visits. A recent study has even concluded that although 70 percent of shoppers are influenced by e-commerce, only 16 percent of them do actual online purchase. Shoppers around the globe, and especially the ones in India, find it hard to abandon their traditional shopping ethics and ride on the e-commerce bandwagon completely. Even with shopping sites and mobile apps witnessing whopping online traffic, more than 50 percent of the retail sales are still done through brick-and-mortar stores.

Demand for instant trial and take-away

Nothing guarantees customers satisfaction as much as getting to see the product before buying it, and for that, having a physical store is the best bet.

Be it apparels, electronics, cosmetics or food items, customers want to have their instant trials and get their questions regarding the product and services answered. The smart shopper goes online to browse for a variety of choices and then shops offline to ensure purchase of better quality only.

Secondly, customers are not willing to wait for days to have the product that they’ve already bought; they prefer instant gratification and take-away of the product as and when purchased. Referring the same, a Retail Dive consumer survey indicated that 49 percent of shoppers go offline rather than online just for the sake of taking items immediately with them and consuming at the earliest to reward their cravings.

Privacy concerns

Not everyone on the earth is explicitly interactive; there are people who are not very open to sharing their information with others.

A recent study found that 75 percent of the consumers prefer a physical store over online ones majorly due to the trust issues they face with the latter. Be it sharing their personal data or getting assistance; consumers are still hesitant about unveiling their private information on e-commerce portals. Furthermore, the rising cases of phishing, hacking, cyberbullying, especially with women, are causing apprehension among them and making them reluctant to roam and explore the virtual market.

Also, in case of any defects and damages, people feel more comfortable in getting it changed at the store instead of going through several channels to make the return or exchange happen as in case of an online purchase. This ingrained attitude of the customer is serving as a deterrent to the adoption of online shopping. That’s why the typical Indian consumer is more comfortable with the orthodox market setup rather than the fast-evolving e-commerce world.

Annoyance due to failed delivery

As per the recent E-tailing Leadership Index (ELI) of RedSeer Management Consulting, which has been published in the Mint, the importance of delivery speed and seriousness of e-com portals regarding product returns and cancellation of orders are the top causes of customers dissatisfaction in the online market. Besides, another big concern for consumers as well as for e-tailers is the inability to track a shipment after its dispatch from the warehouse.

Tracking the product

There are millions of people in India who have not yet bought any product from e-tailers, but they are potential customers of the e-commerce industry.

Many orthodox customers show reluctance towards e-commerce industry and once they face challenges such as slow download speed, search issues/product selection, payment difficulties, and problems in tracking the undelivered product, they avoid e-shopping. Although e-commerce is touching new heights every day, the charm of brick-and-mortar market is undoubtedly unparalleled.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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