Despite the Rise of E-Commerce, Physical Stores Are Here To Stay

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There’s no question that the pandemic shifted consumer habits, and helped fueled the growth of e-commerce in 2020, which was up 30%—its fastest growth since 2002, according to a recent study by Forrester. But the more interesting statistic from that report isn’t about online shopping, but rather offline shopping. The physical store remains not just viable, but integral to the future of retail—and the research firm projects that nearly 75% of retail will take place in physical stores in 2024.

What kind of consumer products will drive in-store growth? Products that consumers need to touch, feel and experience, higher-ticket items, and those where shoppers want in-store advice. The high-touch customer experience is what will shape the future of retail, and at the heart of that experience is people—highly trained associates and brand ambassadors with in-depth knowledge about products and brands. From smartphones and connected home appliances to at-home premium exercise equipment, consumers may start their research online, but they make their purchase in-store—where being able to see and touch the product brings it to life in new ways.

At T-ROC, this is our sweet spot—we’re experts at assisted sales execution. We provide staffing solutions exclusive to the retail industry, including stores and brands. T-ROC offers a combination of talent, coverage, flexibility, and end-to-end managed services. And our scope of services includes everything from sales staffing and brand ambassadors to merchandising and in-store demos.

While in-store retail is poised to gain huge momentum, e-commerce isn’t going anywhere. For retailers who want to seamlessly blend their digital platforms with their store networks, T-ROC offers VIBA (Virtual Interactive Brand Ambassador). VIBA is the only video-based, omnichannel customer experience solution that delivers support experiences anytime, anywhere. In-store, VIBA can be configured as a freestanding totem that instantly connects customers with a virtual bot and a live sales agent via a digital display. Online, VIBA provides assisted selling, product demos, and “live” shopping experiences. VIBA enables retailers and brands to close the gap between online and offline engagements with safe, convenient real-time experiences.

Consumers welcome solutions that make for fast and convenient shopping, and they want options for however they shop—online or offline. They’re not saying farewell to traditional mall shopping, but they still want their shopping experience to evolve. Retailers who invest in improving the in-store experience, while providing a robust digital shopping experience, are the ones who will not only survive but thrive in the ever-changing retail landscape.

To find out more about T-ROC in-store assisted sales solutions and how its VIBA can bridge both physical and digital shopping worlds, get in touch with Chris Green, Senior Vice President, Business Development at T-ROC, cgreen@trocglobal.com.