Buying Behaviour: Shopping Online vs In-Store

When it comes to the success of small businesses, custom is key. Whether you’re starting your own business or are already an established company, from an initial sale to regular spenders, it’s crucial to never underestimate the importance of your customers.

Shopping cart

In an effort to target a relevant audience – whether it’s through increasing foot traffic to your store or boosting sales through your website – you’ll need to make sure you have a powerful and cohesive marketing strategy in place. In today’s post, we’re shining the spotlight on marketing trends and finding out how shopping online compares to shopping in-store – helping you to harness these trends and drive your business forward.

In-store tactics

Retail store

Say goodbye to abandoned carts

When shopping online, customers may find themselves distracted by any number of things – causing them to abandon their cart or navigate away from your site. However, when a customer walks into your store, they’ve already made a conscious decision to step inside. While not every person who enters the store will leave having made a purchase, the intent-to-buy is undeniably greater than that of people who land on your website.

Having actively decided to enter your store, your customers are far less likely to ditch their shopping baskets and leave the store without making a sale – and face-to-face interaction plays a big part in this. Making it clear that your staff are approachable and on-hand to help – without pestering people who are browsing – is key in helping your customers enjoy their in-store experience.

Attention-commanding visuals

Whether it’s powerful flyer printing, eye-catching window clings or colourful overhead posters, visuals matter. From encouraging customers into your store to influencing their path through the shop, visual aids should take customers on a journey and immerse them in a cohesive brand experience.

Once they enter your store, a customer is experiencing your brand – and sale posters, special offers and in-store promotions all play a part in their journey. While a customer might think they have all the necessities in their basket by the time they reach the till, well-placed point of sale (POS) displays can help you to shift fast-moving products and, ultimately, boost your customers’ spend-per-visit.

Online tactics

Online shopping cart

Price comparisons

One advantage online shopping offers that the in-store experience doesn’t is the benefit of price comparisons. With comparison apps and sites becoming more and more user-friendly, it’s easier than ever to get products for less. By operating an online shop, you have the ability to win customers by offering cheaper prices than your competitors – potentially increasing sales, regardless of the size and client base of your business.

Anytime, anywhere

Shopping in-store can be time-consuming and tiring – particularly at busy periods of the year, like Christmas. Ordering online can be as simple as firing up your laptop – and at the touch of a button, your order could be making its way to you. Whether you’re at home, in the office or just just about anywhere else, as long as you have access to the internet, you can shop with ease.

The convenience of shopping online means there are no unsociable hours – so you never have to worry about reaching the shops before they close. If a customer has a positive online experience, they’re more likely to return to your site – rather than seeking out your competitors.

The user experience (UX)

You’ll be familiar with the adage ‘the customer always comes first’ – but in the world of retail, believing and actioning this is the first step towards getting ahead. Whether online or in-store, positive customer experiences are crucial to growing brand loyalty and encouraging repeat custom – so from impactful visuals to a targeted user experience, make sure you put your customers first.

Small businesses needn’t be overshadowed by bigger companies in their industry. By understanding and harnessing online and in-store shopping tactics, you can tailor your brand to your audience – implementing the best marketing techniques for your business and driving sales across all platforms.