A little bit of both
Consumers are increasingly shopping online and on their mobile phones. But this doesn’t mean that they’ve stopped shopping the old-fashioned way, in brick-and-mortar retail stores. Digital and in-store shopping experiences are far from mutually exclusive. As a matter of fact, research shows that consumers are using them in complementary ways.
MAY 2017 UPDATE: Evlo’s website no longer works and the company appears to be dormant.
For example, a recent survey by B2B Partners found that 84 percent of respondents “enjoy the efficiency of digital shopping combined with the touch and feel of the retail store experience.” Google conducted a similar study, revealing that 50 percent of mobile users digitally browsing for local goods end up visiting a brick-and-mortar store within one day of checking out the available products online.
In other words, people are using mobile to explore options, then visiting stores to make purchases.
The benefits of this combined digital and in-store shopping strategy are especially obvious when it comes to things like clothing (because we want to try things on), complicated tech devices (because we want to try them out), and home furnishings. It’s all good and well to browse for couches online, but it’s hard to know for sure if you’ve found “the one” until you’ve seen it in person and given it a good sit.
Where Evlo fits in
Ivan Zhao learned the hard way that shopping for furniture online is risky. He purchased a yellow couch online, but when it arrived, the color was all wrong and the construction was poor. This inspired Zhao to create an app that would help consumers digitally shop for local products that they’d like to see in person before purchasing.
Zhao has partnered with Nick Larson to launch Evlo (shorthand for “everything local”), an app that connects digital and in-store shopping for local furniture and art in the Bay area. Users can browse for furniture, home décor, and art pieces that are available at nearby, small businesses. Shoppers can then easily locate items they may want to check out in person before purchasing.
With Evlo, consumers can find the perfect items for their home without paying long-distance shipping costs or relying on internet images to choose items sight unseen.
While Zhao and Larson want to help consumers avoid tragedies like Zhao’s yellow couch, they are particularly dedicated to supporting local businesses. They say that too much of the furniture and art industries are going “the direction of big business.”
Evlo will help connect Bay area shoppers with local, small businesses, artists, and craftspeople.
Evlo is another example of the many ways that the digital and in-store shopping experiences are becoming integrated.