SEPTEMBER 30, 2008
Using e-commerce to expand physical store offerings
"But the price listed on your Website was lower!"
Statements like this may not be heard in retail stores for much longer. Some stores have maintained Web-exclusive pricing or acted as if consumers never researched on the Internet before making a trip to pick up their products.
Yet nearly six out of 10 consumers in the US now use the Internet as their first choice for researching items purchased in a store, according to Nielsen Online, and smart retailers are bringing the e-commerce element to brick-and-mortar.
Some retailers are providing in-store kiosks and wireless devices to let shoppers access a store's Website for product information or to place an online order, according to AMR Research.
More than four out of 10 retailers surveyed said they offered such services, and nearly three-quarters said they planned to do so by 2010.
Store kiosks can save the sale for retailers by creating "an endless aisle of products" when the store is out of stock or space limitations prevent the retailer from displaying its full selection.
The loss of sales to competitors due to stockouts measures $93 billion, according to the 2008 "Store Systems Study" produced by RIS News and research partner IHL Group. Another application of store kiosks is to provide customers with supplementary product information available from the retailer's Website.
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