The best e-commerce has offline components – or vice versa

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The family and I ended up staying in downtown Chicago late in 2018. We redeemed some credit card points to stay at a Marriott near the Magnificent Mile and were quickly reminded that a $53 Chicago parking spot may not feel that luxurious:

For the record, I exited through the passenger door – which was also super close to another car.


Anyway, we walked to the nearby Under Armour store and I tried on some clothes – including pants and a shirt.

Their fitting rooms by the way look like a subway station. It was kind of surreal.

The pants were just a size too small. And store sales people can be so annoying. “I’m just looking.” Please just let me be.

But here they were helpful and approached me at the right time.

As I was exiting the subway station fitting room they quickly asked if everything fit.

“Just a size too small.”

“Let me see. Oh we don’t have a size bigger in the store, but let me see online.” Of course it was available online.

She quickly ordered it, finished the sale and it’s being shipped two-day shipping to my home in Iowa – four hours by car away.


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I’d say that’s customer-focused and also a great integration strategy.

There’s still way too many out there who argue print vs. digital or online shopping vs. offline shopping. Life isn’t that black and white, but one versus the other is easier to argue, I suppose.

In reality, these channels are all part of the customer experience now and why care what channel your customers use – as long as it’s yours.

Without the online component inside the Chicago store I likely would have left without buying anything. Or I may have gone to an XL store or checked on Amazon or just forgone the purchase completely.

But in this case the e-commerce component in-store was virtually the only way to close the sale. They didn’t have my size. Period. But they did in their online store.

Certainly, I could have gone online later. But you know later can easily turn into never.


I was also reminded of this when I was talking at a print heavy conference. I made a statement about how I don’t use business cards anymore and just use the LinkedIn app at conferences.

“Don’t say that too loudly in front of these print shops,” I was admonished.

But why not? Don’t they want to know?

And I still take people’s business cards if they don’t have the LinkedIn app, which is rare. But I bet me using this technique won’t kill business card printing tomorrow.


So the Under Armour use case is a great example that it’s not about channels or channels against each other but it’s about using the most appropriate channel to reach your business result now.