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'I Don't Know. I Was Just Shopping.'
By: Kaitlin T. Gallucci
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Brick-and-mortar retail and e-commerce have been thriving side by side for years. Now, they are coming together more than ever. In a multi-channel world, consumers are shopping now both online and offline, sometimes simultaneously. John Donahoe, President and CEO of eBay, says “the wall between retail and e-tail is crumbling fast.”
While online shopping can drive consumers offline and in-store (and vice versa), the rise of e-commerce does sometimes capture would-be in-store purchases, most commonly because consumers search for — and find — better prices online. In these cases, purchases can even be taken away from the brand itself, which is why encouraging brand loyalty is more important than ever.
Consumers will even shop online while in a store, using a mobile device to research a product or compare prices. As Dan Schulman, Group President for Enterprise Growth at American Express, described, “We're all carrying the Internet with us… the only difference will be if I reach out and grab that product now or [if] I have it shipped to me.” It’s true — consumers aren’t really differentiating between the channels they use. Donahoe explained that when asked which methods they used to shop with, most consumers respond in kind: “I don't know. I was just shopping.

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About the Author
Kaitlin T. Gallucci is a New York based direct and digital marketing strategist. She tweets here.
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