A new survey by Monetate found that when it comes to Back-to-School shopping, brick-and-mortar stores continue to thrive and that certain product categories are far more likely to be bought in a store than online.

The results suggest that retailer deciding which technology to invest in should prioritize those that ultimately enhance their in-store experience, particularly in categories where the convenience and experience of buying in the store still outweighs doing it online.

Where 80 percent of sales were made in stores

Where Back to School Shoppers are shoppingThe study showed that for two categories, School Supplies and Clothing, over 80 percent of purchases were made in a store.  When shopping for supplies like notebooks and pencils, it is  faster and less hassle just to go to the store and pick out what you need. Clothing stores are also thriving because trying on lots of clothes before choosing your favorites is still best done in a physical store.

For categories like Dorm Furniture and Electronics, the physical  channel still dominates BTS shopping, but the difference is less as online has made greater inroads thanks to options such as easy feature and price comparisons, online reviews, and convenient delivery options.   Even so, the study showed that more than half of shoppers still bought these items  in the store, even if they were previously researched online.

The Monetate study revealed that 67 percent of shoppers researched products online before making their purchase in the store, but it is also worth noting the role that stores may have played in online purchases, which ranged from 5-10 percent on other online channels.

Extra points for personalization

The study not only suggests that back-to-school shoppers still prefer the physical store environment, but it also indicated that they are also very responsive to personalized offers (60 percent) and in-store recommendations. 75 percent of shoppers responded that they were open to receiving recommendations (75 percent). So while discounts may help get people into the store, it is personalization and assisted sales which help build a relationship with customers and boost margins.

Omnichannel is where retailers need to focus

To provide a better in-store experience to their customers, an omnichannel strategy and solution is essential. Store assistants need a mobile POS with access to real-time inventory and assisted sales capabilities and access to customer data which can help locate previously searched items and avoid long waits.

While customers increasingly utilize BOTH online and in-store experiences to complete their purchase journey, most back-to-school purchases are completed in the store. So retailers should focus on investing in omnichannel technologies that will enhance the in-store experience.

To find out how openbravo can help you achieve an effective omnichannel strategy, watch our webinar delivered by Openbravo CEO Marco de Vries, Transforming the store and customer experience for an omnichannel world



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