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92 Percent of retail purchases are still happening offline. Why?



Bloomberg black friday 2013The internet is the world’s biggest shopping mall and it never closes. You can shop anytime of the day or night, 365 days a year. You can find almost anything you can think of (and millions of things you never dreamed of.) You can even sip your coffee while you’re shopping without getting the evil eye from a stuffy salesman. Shopping paradise!

And yet 92% of all retail purchases come from a brick and mortar store. Hard to believe when you hear all the hype about online shopping. You don’t have to be in the business to see it. Just watch the news on Black Friday and you’ll hear all about it. Last year, Black Friday online spending increased 15% setting a new dollar record of $1.2 billion. That’s huge. . . . ish but it’s not even close to what’s being spent in the stores.

Why aren’t more people buying more things online? Ripen eCommerce asked 1235 people that question and here’s what they came up with:

Ripen_Online_Shopping_Barriers

Two issues surfaced above all others. 30.8% want to see or feel an item before buying it. 29.9% like the instant gratification of buying in store.

The urge to see, feel and try on an item before buying is a tough one to overcome online. Until we come up with a way to add texture to the internet, you’re going to have to settle for creative and detailed descriptions. And pictures. Lots and lots of pictures.

The other option is to sell items customers can’t easily find in stores. This is why handmade marketplaces like Etsy and Daily Tee sites like TeeFury do so well. If you like what you see, you have no choice. You have to buy it online.

Instant gratification is another toughie. Amazon deals with this issue buy pre-selling hot items then shipping them prior to the release date so they actually arrive on the release date. It’s tricky but it’s the only way they’re going to stop people from running to the local bookstore or Walmart to grab a hot item on the release day. (Amazon just gave Kindle Direct Publishers the ability to pre-sell ebooks, too.)

16.9% of people don’t shop online because they’re concerned about privacy. They don’t want anyone tracking their purchases and they’re worried about misuse of credit card and other personal data. The best way to combat this is with transparency and reassurance. Allow customers to buy without storing their information. Don’t ask for more information than you really need and please, please, please stop asking customers to create an account just to take a look at what you have to offer. It’s insane.

Finally, 14.4% of customers shop in-store to avoid paying for shipping. You can combat this problem by offering a variety of reasonable shipping options. REASONABLE. I was going to buy a fun bar of soap at an online store until I saw $8.95 shipping. Really? Where’s it coming from? France? I ship products everyday and I know it doesn’t cost $8.95 to ship a bar of soap.

Marketers, it’s time to overcome the objections. What can you do to convince these offline shoppers that online is the better way?