Amazon dominates online sales traffic with an equal or greater share of sales compared to all other e-commerce sites combined, when measured across 11 retail categories, according to a Gordon Haskett Research Advisors 150-question survey of 500 households, which gauged the health of the consumer and overall retail foot traffic. Amazon attracted 13.1% more music, book or movie purchases than all other online retailers combined, according to the study.
The study, emailed to Retail Dive, found stores still matter, with in-store sales still attracting a significantly larger share of consumers’ purchases than e-commerce sites in (1) groceries (+54.0% over online traffic); (2) household products (+47.0%); (3) health & beauty, (36.4%); (4) pet products (35.3%); (5) Auto-related products (+28.7%); and (6) small household electronics (+17.6%).
Physical retailers are missing a key way to stoke sales, according to other research from mobile commerce and engagement platform GPShopper and research firm YouGov: 86% like experiences to try out products in store but buy on mobile or online, similar to the Samsung store; 85% like the idea of product recommendations based on ratings, similar to Amazon Books stores; 80% like buying items online and picking it up in-store, as Walmart and Target have been promoting; and 78% like stores from once pure-play sites like Warby Parker, according to that study. But over a third of consumers typically “feel nothing” when shopping in stores, the study also found.
Despite e-commerce’s continuing grind, brick-and-mortar stores have yet to fully lose their advantage with many consumers who want to see and touch merchandise even before making online purchases.
That's true of particular categories, including groceries, though these studies have taken place before the announcement last week of Amazon’s $13.7 billion takeover of grocer Whole Foods Market, much less the data-hogging revamp of those stores that is to come. Still, “the data implies that e-commerce retailers have infringed less on grocery and everyday household item sales vs. other non-essential goods,” according to Gordon Haskett Research Advisors.
What retailers can’t do is sit on such laurels, as even e-commerce giant Amazon continues to merge online and offline retail, with technological advantages unique to e-commerce.
“The retail industry is in turmoil — stalwart stores are closing at record pace and those left standing will be the ones who know the value of listening to the customer and innovating accordingly. We know from our previous research that shoppers value time and convenience over flashy technology," GPShopper co-founder and CMO Maya Mikhailov said in a statement.
"Ultimately, that lack of feeling leaves price and convenience as the primary drivers of where they make a purchase. If stores became more about the overall experience they can start attracting loyal shoppers again. Hopefully, this will undo some of the brand erosion that came from the cost-cutting in the wrong places that got them into this trouble to begin with.”