December 7, 2018
Audience Engagement

Consumers Need Physical Stores for Retail Therapy

ECommerce is Convenient, but Brick and Mortar is Therapeutic

Online retail isn’t going away. But that doesn’t mean it’s killed in-store shopping. In fact, customers are still itching to go to the mall -- so the team at Orvis decided to take a look at what those customers do once they get inside.

The observations are fascinating: “Next time you’re in a retail shop, watch what [the customers] do,” CXO Dave Finnegan told us during our Business Impact Workshop. “People will use their hands, touching the fabric, holding it up in front of them. They also happen to make some really meaningful human experiences.”

In other words, customers are drawn inside stores for moments they can’t get online: Feeling items to personally measure quality. Discussing potential purchases with friends. Interacting one-on-one with salespeople who care about the products and know how to best use them.

Consumers Need Physical Stores to Touch the Products

Orvis realized years ago something that many companies are still struggling to understand: Online and in-store shouldn’t compete. They should complement each other. So Dave’s team began developing a strategy to seamlessly blend together digital and retail, creating one unified, optimized customer experience. There’s no reason, he said, for a battle.

Customers will choose between shopping online or at the mall based on a wide variety of factors, but those decisions are fluid. Some start their search in-store but ultimately order their final picks online. Others notice an item in Orvis’ catalog and then head to the store to check it out. All of these different paths to the purchase, Dave explained, are meaningful.

Consumers Need Physical Stores to Experience Branding

The biggest key to blending online and retail is consistency in branding. We’re not talking about logos and fonts. When customers visit your location, whether that’s in-person or on a website, they should instantly get a feel of your “vibe.”

Whether you pop into an Orvis store, visit its website or open its catalog, you’re going to know right away what this company stands for. It’s a brand that encourages you to get outside and enjoy the world with their products. You feel it instantly.

When we started working with Orvis, it was clear that this was a company that deeply understood itself and its customers. The truth is, it takes genuine time, energy and passion to figure those two things out. And oftentimes, they go hand-in-hand: As the world evolves, so do customers and companies. You have to be willing to continue observing and adjusting.

To learn more about how the Orvis Company keeps their physical stores relevant, watch Episode Two of our Business Impact Workshop.