Now that the holiday shopping season is over, all the buzz is about how online and mobile shopping have boomed ... and how sales at physical stores are trailing way behind.  Yes, percentage-wise, the digital duo are doing better (15% growth over 2010) than brick and mortar at only 4% growth, but seriously folks, my money is still on in-store.

The reality is that for every digital dollar spent last month, 12 dollars were handed over to a living, breathing sales associate.  $469 billion vs. $37.6 billion. 

Point being, there's room at the table for everyone: Online, mobile, and in-store.  But the master of the house is still ... and will always be ... the brick and mortar store.  However, there's much the old man can learn from from the young ones in the room. Savvy consumers love to use their smart phones and tablets while shopping. That's a given. 3 out of 4 did so while standing inside an actual store. But there's nothing stopping the savvy retailer from taking the best aspects of online and mobile commerce and building that right into the in-store experience.  Then, you'll truly have the best of both worlds:  Tech-enabled shopping and the instant gratification of walking away with your purchase in hand.

That's where iPads and tablets come in.  And Kokley.  2012 is not only the Year of the Dragon, but the year when iPads will come into their own as in-store shopping assistants.  I look forward to looking back at 2012 and reflecting on how brick and mortar retailers have upped their web game to not only match, but surpass, the digital experience.  Holiday 2012 sales will certainly be one of the metrics. Care to suggest any others?

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