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Why the in-person shopping experience will never fade, regardless of online storefronts

As society emerges from COVID-19 lockdowns, we are re-familiarising ourselves with shopping at physical stores, other than the supermarket. Although the e-commerce market is certainly a dominant player in our daily lives, the in-shopping experience provides us with something that the online shopping experiences cannot.

So, without further ado, here is why the in-shopping experience will never fade, despite the prominence of online shopping.

The online shopping experience

It goes without saying that online shopping became our saviour during the pandemic when the majority of stores closed their doors. In particular, a 2021 survey by the EY Future Consumer Index found that 43% of US consumers shop online more often for products that they would have bought in stores previously as a result of the pandemic.

This shows that the COVID-19 pandemic has influenced the way in which consumers shop, with many turning to online shopping to purchase goods instead of going out and heading to the store. This is not surprising since online shopping became extremely popular during this time.

You can easily browse through products, filtering them by category, colour, price, and so on, and they can be purchased with a click of a button (or tap on a smartphone). As many retailers offer delivery options, online shopping is incredibly convenient.

Vs the in-person shopping experience

Despite the popularity and benefits of online shopping, shopping in stores is still common. Supermarkets stayed open during lockdowns as they were classed as essential, selling groceries and other essential household goods. One study in particular discovered that in 2022, UK consumers preferred in-store grocery shopping compared to online.

As you can see, when it comes to grocery shopping, the in-person shopping experience appears to be more popular than the online shopping experience. However, it is possible that the same may not be true for non-essential items or items other than groceries.

Nevertheless, the in-person shopping experience offers interactions that are not possible with online shopping. For example, face-to-face communication with a salesperson, plus possible encounters with friends, and of course, the ability to shop with others.

Whilst some people may prefer to shop alone, and that is perfectly fine, others also use shopping as a means of spending time with others. Human connections can be built and fostered through the in-person shopping experience, whereas online shopping is not capable of this.

What’s in store for the future

When it comes to the in-person shopping experience, this is something that will and has lasted millenniums, persevering through difficulties such as the COVID-19 pandemic. It is something completely ingrained in civilisations that it is challenging to think of a world without it.

In terms of supermarkets, despite groceries being available to be purchased online, the supermarket itself is a valuable contributor to the economy. In particular, supermarket advertising is a fruitful avenue as countless people walk in and out of supermarkets everyday.

In-store shopping and online shopping currently co-exist harmoniously, and even though technology continues to evolve and develop at a rapid rate, the in-person shopping experience and its human touch is simply something that online shopping cannot replicate.

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