Retailing in Europe very different from U.S. – both in-store and online
The U.S. never converted to the metric system. There was no conversion to Celsius from Fahrenheit. Across the pond retailing in Europe is vastly different. The biggest difference are the social customs regarding consumer sales both in-store and online. Being aware of these differences is critical for any business selling in these markets.
Cultural Differences Narrowing
American consumers have come to prefer shopping online while their European counterparts still prefer the in-store experience. According to recent studies, 71% of U.S. consumers claim they find online shopping more convenient than shopping in stores, compared to 50% in Europe. Further, 72% of European consumers “do all or most of their purchases” in physical stores. For Americans that number is only 57% and they are much more likely to incorporate online research before their purchase. Additionally, a full 73% of American consumers research a product online before going into a store to ‘touch’ the product.
Using BOPIS – U.S. Catching-up
Buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS) or ‘Click n’ Collect’ was growing before the pandemic hit as forward thinking retailers knew it would be part of a more comprehensive customer experience. Before Covid 19, U.S. retail was behind Europe in offering BOPIS with only 27% of U.S. retailers equipped to offer this service. This compared with 64% in the U.K., 50% in France, and 43% in Germany. Now, the U.S. retailers have caught up realizing that the service offers more flexibility and a great way to optimize sales as the consumer must come into the store to pick-up their merchandise giving the retailer a second chance to sell more product.
Ultimately, no matter where in the world you are based you will need to tailor your omni-channel strategy to make sure you are providing customers the most flexible, convenient, and fulfilling shopping experience – online and in-store. The experience must be seamless, personal, and engaging to retain loyalty and repeat business.