You may be surprised to learn that the number of U.S. consumers who prefer to go to the brick-and-mortar store next door is greater than those who prefer to buy online. Despite all the buzz surrounding the zillions of online sales channels, 17 percent of consumers buy goods mostly offline and 10 percent purchase products only in the good old way.
To compare, just 5 percent of respondents say they buy only online and 11 percent of U.S. shoppers purchase products mostly online.
Majority of Consumers Use Both Online and Offline Sales Channels
A recent survey by McKinsey's Persicope reveals that more than half of the U.S. consumers make purchases both online and offline.
Thus, we move toward a multichannel experience where people buy extensively online but also pay a visit to traditional store. Evidently, we have a long way to go before the market shifts to online only, if this shift is to happen anytime soon.
What It Means for Merchants and E-commerce
As more than half of the U.S. consumers use a combination of online and offline channels, you should adjust your marketing and branding strategy to cover both worlds. This applies mostly for brick-and-mortar stores but also e-commerce merchants who sell mainly physical goods.
Promoting your brand and product through traditional mediums such as posters and billboards still matters. On the other hand, you can give a try to digital technologies such as beacons to boost your brick-and-mortar sales through provision of location specific notifications and promotions delivered to a mobile device.
E-commerce traders, for their part, can experiment with branding and marketing strategies that involve channels beyond online and include promotions delivered at the customer's door. It is not a widespread practice in an increasingly digital marketplace yet it still works for promoting certain goods and services you sell mostly online.
What It Means for Startups
The above figures uncover two trends.
First, the number of consumers who are going all-digital is exaggerated. Second, multichannel will rule in the foreseeable future.
Hence, any startup company should incorporate the findings into their branding and marketing strategy. It is not bad to start entirely online or offline. It is bad to not have these consumer behavior figures in mind.
While established businesses can gradually shift toward digital and then balance between the offline and online experience, a startup should find the right balance from the very start. Choosing a multichannel approach seems like a winning move, given that the majority of consumers live in both worlds.
You should also bear in mind that 90 percent of Americans being online does not mean all of them are purchasing online. That is why it is better for businesses to plan for a multichannel strategy and not put all your eggs into one basket.
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