Current affairs

Online and physical stores, the present and future of commerce

Consumers buy online, but also in physical stores when it suits them

Wednesday, 19 de April, 2017

By Carlos Andonegui, a lecturer on the Master in Online Marketing and Digital Commerce at EAE Business School

It goes without saying that trend for electronic commerce in Spain is clearly on the rise. The e-Commerce sector has been growing continuously for 10 years, as shown by this year’s data from the Economic and Social Council.

Despite the recession, this evolution is significant, with online sales having tripled over the period. A total of 70% of Spanish internet users make online purchases, with 40% doing so regularly. According to the report “e-Commerce Analysis and Perspectives”, drafted by the Digital Economy Institute, the journal D/A Retail and the Spanish Digital Economy Association, a third of the sector is set to grow by 30%.

To date, we can say that we are the fourth leading country of the European Union in terms of online sales, ranking only behind the superpowers (United Kingdom, Germany and France), which are more mature markets with an extensive prior tradition of catalogue shopping, making it easier to adjust to digital channels.

Technological progress and the constant change in our consumption habits have enabled the development of and greater confidence in online shopping. There is an ever-increasing number of users who need to make instant purchases. The basis of the way they shop is fast, easy and for anywhere, in a scenario characterized by the concept of ‘Right Here, Right Now’, greater simplicity and security in terms of online payments, and saving money and time by finding cheaper offers and products online, with the advantage of finding a range of options at a single click.

The consumer sets the rules and they have an omnichannel approach. They therefore demand an omnichannel experience or, in other words, shopping online (using a technological device) and/or in a physical store, depending on however suits them best in each case. As a result, an increasing number of companies want to complement their online business with a physical store, as is the case of Vinopremier, which has taken the “leap from online to offline” by opening experiential stores that are far more than simply showcases for the products, where the ambience of the store is infectious and customers enjoy the shopping experience in the world of wine and gourmet products, as well as creating added value services by taking advantage of the synergies between the two channels, such as wine tasting sessions, “touching” or “tasting” the product (an aspect for which, so far, the internet cannot cater), not being subject to delivery costs and immediacy, etc., striving to provide a full experience to generate customer confidence and connection with the brand, imbuing it with a solid and prestigious quality, particularly among people who have a certain reluctance with respect to online shopping.

In conclusion, e-Commerce will continue growing but the fact of having a physical store will increase in importance in certain sectors. Welcome to the omnichannel age! 

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