How E-Commerce and Retail are Growing Together

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IEE_GiantEagleYou may have seen some of these “Scan Pay & Go” signs at Giant Eagles across the Pittsburgh area. This service allowed you to scan items through a smartphone app or an in-store scanner while putting them into your cart. The app would keep track of all the items you planned on purchasing, which then saved a lot of time while checking out as you just needed to show your app to pay!

Giant Eagle is just one of several retail chains to begin experimenting with more methods of electronic commerce, and new innovations in the industry can lead to reduced costs for both businesses and consumers. While traditional thinking may lead you to believe that traditional brick-and-mortar stores are at odds with e-commerce, the reality is that both platforms have advantages and using them together is the best way!

According to Whisbi, consumers want a “seamless omnichannel experience” where retail and e-commerce are integrated together. Omnichannel customers shop more frequently and spend 3.5x more than other shopper types! In addition, 84% of customers feel that retailers should better unite their offline and online channels.

What are other businesses doing to blend together their retail and e-commerce stores? Here are a few examples from Multichannel Merchant:

  • Mobile Loyalty/Incentive Programs: Food companies like Starbucks need brick-and-mortar stores to sell their products, but they keep people coming back through their Starbucks Rewards program. With their incentives program, repeat customers are rewarded with great deals that keep them coming back!
  • Social Media Coordination Opportunities: Staying with the example of food companies, many businesses promote their products through Instagram. Again, you can’t buy a coffee through the internet, but seeing a Starbucks coffee on a social media platform like Instagram might just entice you to go to the store!
  • Online Stores Going Retail: While most people think of retail stores closing because of e-commerce, sometimes the opposite happens! Several Amazon stores have opened in real locations across the United States. Just check out how many locations there are for yourself!

Retail and e-commerce are two multifaceted industries, and it’s important to understand how innovations in one can positively affect the other!

While thinking through your various options, it doesn’t hurt to explore new opportunities as well. If you are interested in learning more about doing business with the University of Pittsburgh, consider attending the University of Pittsburgh SBDC’s “Doing Business With Pitt” event. This informative event takes place on Thursday, December 6th, 2018 from 7:30am-10:30am in the O’Hara Student Center’s Dining Room. You can find more information as well as register for the event here.

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