The year 2020 is the biggest e-commerce boom in the Greek Retail industry, because of the two national lockdowns and the physical stores’ closure for several months. After all, the growth potential was- and remains- high.
However, for most Greek, the digital store is a remote, exotic destination for price-sensitive consumers:
• Remote, as far as the last-mile often turns into a tug of war. The large number of orders that lead to suffocation in the delivery channel has turned the situation into a massive problem in the last months. Thus, thousands of buyers experience a not so pleasant shopping experience, which in the medium term will probably harm the relationship between the consumer and the brand. We should mention here that, between the two lockdowns, the key players in the Food and Grocery Retail industry in Greece have proceeded with the right interventions, synergies, and investments, to face the expected high demand for delivery of online orders.
• Exotic, as the digital environment, is for most of the Greek people. The unforeseen situation, in which we have to live, and work for the last ten months, helps- willingly or unwillingly – the evolution of our relationship with technology. But, it is commonly known that we still have big steps to take towards the much-discussed digital transformation as a society. After all, the relationship between the consumer and the digital store is still plagued by various prejudices (basically around electronic transactions), and as a result, they affect the shopping experience
• Price-sensitive, as most consumers will visit a digital store mainly to find better prices and discounts, often overlooking other parameters related to the quality of service.
At this point, it is retailers turn, who have to take further action. The digital store to become a flagship store requires investments, often equivalent to those of an average physical store. The online environment has its difficulties and challenges. It is chaotic and changes quickly and makes it easier for users to compare prices and products. The digital store, especially for retailers with a dual presence, is another store with peculiarities.
Furthermore, when referring to the omnichannel strategy, it is almost contradictory to separate trade into physical and electronic. It is the same with the customer experience; the consumer journey is no longer separated; it is considered a holistic experience.
The physical stores will be back to normal when conditions allow. When the time comes, it is expected that the consumers will run into physical stores. In the last days, right after the second national lockdown announcement, the consumers visit the physical stores with a radical increase of visiting. During the last weeks, we experienced the same situation in other countries. The numbers will again find the ratio that the market sets. After all, we must not forget that visiting a physical store is, even today, an irreplaceable experience, which contains elements of direct contact with the product and the brand, socialization, and, why not, entertainment.
And the consumer, probably more intensely than before, will seek a unified experience, both the digital and the physical store. The brands that can provide the unified experience, will have the lead the day after. They are the ones who will invest further in both channels. They will rush to identify the weaknesses and correct them, those that arise from the e-commerce boom. Meanwhile, they will prioritize the KYC (Know Your Costumer) processes. Those are the key points in achieving the personalized experience that we all seek as consumers.