What is a store?

Online shopping is on the rise, but Australians still think of a ‘store’ as a physical space, according to a new survey.

Shopify’s ‘This is a store’ survey of over 1,000 Australians found 77% of people think of a physical store when they think of shopping. Those aged over 55 are almost three times more likely than those aged 18-24 to think of shopping as ‘going into a physical store.’

Shaun Broughton, Managing Director of APAC Shopify, says it is time for Australians to reimagine retail, as the COVID-19 pandemic has enabled major shifts in the way brands and consumers interact and changed the industry forever. 

“Australians haven’t yet broadened their view of what a store is,” he says.

“A store is Instagram, a store is Pinterest, a store is online and a physical space. The research proves that Australians shop on all these mediums, but they still perceive a store as bricks and mortar. As shopping trends continue to evolve due to macro circumstances and technology, this perception is also highly likely to shift over time.”

Brand discovery

Shopify’s survey finds consumers are relying on digital channels to make shopping decisions, with 47% claiming to primarily discover brands through online search and websites, and one in 10 via social media. 

Websites and social media outranked traditional advertising and television as influential channels when it comes to shopping decisions, with websites being the most influential source.

Digital demand

Overwhelmingly, 83% of shoppers believe all brands should sell online/have an online store, while 7% say it only matters if the online experience is better than the in-store experience.

When asked about the biggest deterrent from shopping with a brand online, 18% of respondents said they fear the unknown/uncertainty around what the product is like in real life. This was followed by bad online reviews (16%), lack of competitive pricing (14%), shipping costs and inconvenience (12%) and lack of security (12%).

Omnichannel approach

Mr Broughton says brands need to emulate a physical store experience as much as possible online, to give reassurance to those unsure about online shopping.

“This means reimagining the shopping experience and adopting omnichannel approaches, to ensure customers get the same certainty and convenience as they would in-store no matter where or how they choose to shop,” he says.

“We’ve seen local merchants like Go To Skin do this successfully, by adopting new platforms and placing no limits on the way they deliver shopping experiences in this evolving space.”

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