In recent years it has become increasingly clear that our inner cities are becoming desolate. While it was a leisure activity not long ago to take a stroll through the city and have a look in the shop windows, today you often only see the sign "closed" in them. This is because more and more shops are closing their doors in the inner cities and are moving away.
They can now be found either in the large shopping centres, which do not exactly support sales in the city centres, or on the Internet.
Because online trade continues to boom. After all, shops here have the opportunity to present and sell themselves 24 hours a day, seven days a week, without any additional staff. Advertising on the Internet is also cheaper than print, radio or television advertising. Companies can advertise here with Google Adwords and Facebook Advertising for traffic and thus sell their products.
Trust in online shops grows
While it was unthinkable a few years ago to make online purchases, today even holidays are largely booked online - if only because you can save a lot of money here.
Moreover, online shops invest a lot of effort in customer care and customer loyalty. In the meantime, shops can be reached by phone or email without much effort. Just a few years ago, the operators of online shops were rather unapproachable and you were lucky if you got an answer to an email inquiry.
Today the operators of online shops are taking their Shop much more seriously on the Internet. Not only have they invested in seals of approval such as "Trusted Shops", they also publish a newsletter to inform their customers at regular intervals about new products, offers or general information about their business. This creates trust, buyers are much more inclined to spend their money in such an online shop.
In addition, the payment processes and payment options have become much more flexible and the customer is protected in case he should ever run into a black sheep.
Merchants like Amazon are of course top of the list here and have shown us how to further advance online trading. Amazon is known for not only offering the best prices but also for solving any customer problem quickly, unproblematically and friendly. For this reason alone and of course because of the low prices, customers are inclined to buy there.
In addition, online shops are tending more and more to compensate for the lack of haptics with good, detailed photos and even product videos. In addition, good product descriptions not only make the product easier to find in search engines, but also inform the customer well and help him or her to make a purchase decision.
City centres as an adventure area
Now that online trade has been upgraded and more and more traders are realising that they should at least build up an additional foothold on the Internet, the question arises as to how shops in the pedestrian zones can become more attractive.
Here again, large chains like Lidl show us how it's done - shopping must become an experience so that it can exist alongside Internet commerce.
Lidl rebuilds its branches and integrates - coffee machines. This will enable customers to stock up on food and drink a coffee before entering the store. Other shops are setting up seating areas, because shopping is also a social activity, as it is often a place where you meet friends or enjoy yourself. Thus, shopping becomes an experience that one no longer wants to exchange for shopping on the Internet.
Another example is a bookstore that has integrated a café and reading corners into its shop for years. So before buying the product, in this case the book, you can test it in detail, examine it and simply "read" it. This is also possible on the Internet and often the customer is granted a look into the book, but a coffee while reading is comfortable and the choice is huge, just like on the Internet.
Some cities have already recognized this trend and offer not only a more extensive shopping experience in the shops but also various events throughout the year. Here, the wine shops entice customers with a tasty glass of wine in convivial company and food trucks with exceptional delicacies.
A wide range of offers also ensures that customers return to the cities.
The retail trade can certainly keep up with online trade, but must be willing to break new ground. Only then will it be possible for shops to survive in shopping centres and even in pedestrian zones.
Retailers who approach the matter with a little imagination can still lure their customers into the shops today.
The answer to the riddle is here:
Offer your customers an experience they cannot have on the Internet. In this way, the retail trade can very well exist alongside online trading or even be a supplement to buying on the Internet.