Can Online Retailers convert like Brick and Mortar Ones?

Ever wonder why Offline retail converts many more users than Online? Here’s our analysis of why this happens and possible solutions to bridge this gap.


Offline retail converts more visitors than Online. This Infographic points out the underlying factors behind this and the possible solutions to each:

  • More visitors to Online stores with less intention to buy: 24/7 access, easy access over a web browser implies that visiting online stores takes very less efforts for consumers. Online stores also, typically do more marketing whereas the physical location of the store serves as the equivalent for Offline stores. As a result, many visitors to an online shop come to window shop. This translates to lower conversion rates.

Product cataloging/accurate metadata helps both SEO and digital advertisements in terms of discoverability and targeting

  • Number of SKU’s much higher in Online stores: A consumer’s time to find the products he’s looking for in an store will invariably be higher if the number of products in the store is higher. Online stores typically have thousands of products if not more. The lower discoverability of products leads to lower conversions

Merchandising based on user preferences would help users discover preferred products much more easily. Online in fact presents this unique opportunity not available to offline retailers

  • Lack of Salespeople in Online stores: Offline stores usually have salespeople who assess customer needs and point out products/items that match the requirements. Online stores do not have salespeople. This leads to lower conversions.

Search is the rough equivalent online. A smart search that understands user requirements and intent through semantic understanding would help users find what they’re looking for.

  • Physically touching/trying out products: Especially when it comes to clothing, artistic pieces, etc, touching/seeing the product helps in convincing users to convert much more effectively. Customers would be also be much more convinced with product demos like trying out a microwave, toaster, etc. Online doesn’t provide these options

Virtual trial rooms where a user can see/interact with the product helps here. Reverse logistics gives users the option of trying products and sending them back if dissatisfied

  • Loyalty programmes/salesperson expertise: Many shoppers at online stores consider the salesperson as an expert in the domain/product and consult with him before buying on many factors. Offline stores also run more loyalty programmes. Both these help conversion rates.

More loyalty management programmes helps would help repeat business from acquired customers. AI based chatbots that customer can use to question about the product would help him make decisions on product purchase.

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