Digital information gathering the future for retail

If you didn't know better, it would be easy to believe that the days of the brick-and-mortar are dead. Many experts talk about the benefits of e-commerce and how it has become the dominant form of shopping, especially for younger consumers. It is only a matter of time before going to a physical store, testing out a product and buying it is a thing of the past.

People need to pump the brakes. As a recent article from Street Fight Magazine points out, e-commerce currently only makes up between five and 10 percent of the total retail sales in the United States. There is still a desire for the experience that only physical stores can provide. However, e-commerce is playing a role when it comes to data collection.

The news source recently held a Local Data Summit. One panel was moderated by Closely CEO Perry Evans and featured Retailigence CEO Jeremy Geiger, Goodzer CEO Mike Wilson and Krillion/Local Corp Shopping VP Sherry Thomas-Zon. The group examined the need to bring local inventory online and how even small brick-and-mortar stores can benefit from also having an online presence.

With the right retail software solution in place, organizations can track what online shoppers are looking for on the website, as well as gather background information and inventory searches, even if they don't purchase through that platform.

This allows companies to better understand popular products and make adjustments accordingly. Wilson also pointed out that a majority of online purchases are driven by urgency and impulse. This is a customer that uses the convenience of online shopping to make a quick purchase.

However, there are still a number of different products that need to be purchased in-person. While there is the obvious of test-driving a car, getting a feel for a major appliance or trying on clothes, many people like to be able to hold a product and buy it right then instead of purchasing online and waiting for a product to be delivered, hoping it is right.

"When small businesses identify what drives foot traffic versus online traffic, they can better serve their customers," the article reads. "And even though value is concentrated in the specificity of data sets, looking at that information broadly can also help form brand identity."

This all points to a more digital way to gather information for merchants. Whether it is with credit card POS software or an integrated inventory tracking system, there are a number of benefits to embracing a digital format.

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