A digital presence is a necessity for most retailers today. However, many businesses often feel that they lack choices when it comes to embracing the online world. Traditional thinking tends to assume that online commerce requires a complete end-to-end process, starting with online sales and ending in home delivery, or at the very least a click and collect in store model.

This approach poses a number of logistical challenges for those used to dealing in ‘bricks and mortar’ commerce. The challenge is particularly difficult in fast-moving goods industries, where immediate delivery capabilities are required. For a small business, establishing this process can take up time, budget and resources that might have a negative impact on the company’s in-store offering.

The digital storefront approach

A complete end-to-end e-commerce process, however, is not the only way to go digital. It is possible to curate an online presence without having a full online commerce process in place. This means that you can reap the rewards of online reach and the low cost of digital marketing techniques while also retaining control of the in store shopper experience.

Digital storefronts allow businesses to use digital channels to attract customers and support their shopping experience. The concept of a ‘digital storefront’ typically involves using a website and supporting digital channels toprovide a representation of the items or produce available within individual stores, without making these available to purchase online. One example of this might be a retailer displaying up-to-date information on available stock in-store and offering a click and collect service, where the transaction itself is made in store. Another example might be a large group using a single digital store front to display the availability of stock across their range of stores, so customers can create digital shopping lists ahead of an instore visit.

Enhancing your commerce reach

The digital storefront approach can also help businesses reach new customers. This is especially true for customers that are part of the Millennial and Gen Z generations. These customers are more likely to find shops and products online and are more likely to use features such as digital shopping lists. A digital storefront which allows them to engage with the business in this manner can therefore become an essential part of a business’s wider brand.

Ultimately, a digital storefront can connect online customers with bricks and mortar stores and provide retailers with the benefits of an online presence, without the need for a full-scale implementation of an end-to-end e-commerce solution.