Online and offline channels have complementary but currently exclusive benefits. On the internet, consumers can access related products, accessories, comparative price options, product information, communities, social interaction, reviews, simplified purchase, and delivery, while also being able to feedback to others about the experience. Consumers are therefore becoming used to a richer, faster, and more socially interactive shopping experience. What they cannot do is try out products for fit, look, feel, appropriateness and ease of use before buying, or even benefit from the immediacy of collecting the item at time of purchase, which are the core benefits of buying in-store.
In-store benefits unfortunately cannot practically be transferred to the online environment, or at least not until virtual reality goes a whole lot further than secondlife.com. However, there is no reason why online benefits cannot be brought in-store today. And that in a nutshell, is what I'm talking about in terms of a vision of the High Street 2.0. To stay competitive against online competition i.e. the pure plays, retailers must start developing a new generation of information and experience rich high street stores.