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The future of online and offline retail stores


by Anushree Ghosh

When the axis of online and offline stores meet at a point, the quadrant which gets the maximum ‘sales hits’ is tricky to analyse.  Many brands keep on shifting the meeting point according to the market demand. Over the past decade, brands have been experimenting with physical and virtual shops by even offering products on their own website. This has led to shrinking the inventory cost and more return on investment, but while doing so the brand identity and personalized effort get lost in the process. Also, the competition intensifies at the offline level.

The companies that are highly dependent on online sales are now re-strategizing their marketing plan, trying to reach equilibrium between the virtual store and actual stores. The traditional divide is slowly reaching the threshold and crossing over into an omnichannel retail form.

As published by shopify on 10 May, 2016 “The future of our business and the future of all retail will have some online component and offline component.” 

 – David Gilboa, Co-Founder, Warby Parker

Here are a few trends that can be predicted to take place in the coming year

A bit of everything

As physical space is becoming costlier with every passing day, retailers are downsizing their stores and keeping a mix of all products at the store,  to make the customer taste a bit of everything under the same umbrella.

The magic ‘Buy Button’

With the increased use of social media, many more people would fall into the trap of social media ‘buy button’. It is an interesting technique to tap the social media reach.  These buttons make shopping easier and convenient, which is the need of these rush hours.

Speedy and Convenient

As the mass is shifting towards easy buying methods, customers will be more keen to buy in the most easiest and convenient way possible. One day delivery will become the wizadry of the future. Brands that can tie up with the fastest suppliers to have a widespread supply channel will rule this game.


Shopping in general will be highly personalized, the differentiator that makes the customers stand out from the crowd will change the rules of the trade.  Technology has played a vital role to revolutionize the format of personalized products, from 3D printed clothes to houses, tailored services offering just what is required will delight the customer.

Interactive Shopping

Expert opinions at the point of sale will surely dramatise the way people purchase things.  For instance, all-time availability of beauticians, nutritionists or fashion consultant at the store will help buyers to make quick and efficient decisions that are difficult to make while purchasing something online.

Further, predictive analysis will play a greater role in influencing consumer’s buying behavior. If a person buys product ‘X’ then most likely he/she can buy product ‘Y’ too. The retailers need to dig deeper at every level to leave a mark of the on the consumer’s mind forever, to retain old ones and also to engage new buyers.


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