Stopping Online Giants Like Amazon from Stealing Your BusinessPosted by Kush Khandelwal on August 21, 2013
Equipped with mobile technology, consumers have unprecedented access to retailers. Online giants, like Amazon, offer a wide range of products at low prices and an easy 1-click ordering process that provides customers a high level of convenience. Amazon constantly stocks products in quantities somewhere between 100 and 1,000. The company’s centralized warehouses and bulk orders enable it to offer almost unbeatable prices. Currently, Amazon prices sit between 9% and 14% lower than most retailers. It’s not surprising that brick and mortar stores are sweating.
To add salt to the wound, Amazon’s price check app makes it very easy for brick & mortar shoppers to participate in showrooming and for the online shopping powehouse to steal sales from the physical store. Shoppers can scan a store’s own barcodes using Amazon’s app, compare prices, and instantly buy from Amazon.
However, for a multi-billion dollar company with software development centers in multiple countries, total retail dominance isn’t definite. Most people still live close to a mall or shopping center, and in-store shopping is a hobby or activity most people still enjoy. While Amazon is raking in a lot of dough online, brick and mortar sales still make up $0.90 of every retail dollar spent.
The Hurdles of Online Shopping
The online shopping experience fails to dazzle the customer when it comes to delivery. The delivery experience has hardly changed since the first online transaction in 1994. Shoppers still wait at least a day or more for delivery. Most internet retailers have restrictions on how customers receive free shipping. Often, free shipping offers mean the customer will wait weeks for what they want. Packages arrive when it’s convenient for the courier company, not for the shopper.
Delivery is a huge factor for consumers not shopping online, and even when people shop online the vast majority abandon their carts before checkout. From the average of 22 studies on cart abandonment, 67.75% of online shopping carts are abandoned without purchase. Two-thirds of these consumers blame delivery prices or timing as reasons for not completing their online transaction.
There are certain products consumers canâ€™t or arenâ€™t willing to wait for. When online retailers can only guess when a package will arrive, paying a few extra dollars to pick it up immediately doesnâ€™t seem so bad to a lot of customers. This is one of Amazonâ€™s largest hurdles. If Amazon ships from local warehouses, it loses its ability to offer a wide range of product choices and its level of profitability. Amazon canâ€™t offer same-day delivery from a distant warehouse at an affordable price point.
Opportunities for Local Retailers
Amazonâ€™s disadvantage is the brick and mortar storeâ€™s opportunity. Leverage your local presence and turn Amazon’s strengths upside-down. Prevent shoppers from using your store as a â€œshowroomâ€ for future internet purchases with an innovative and customer-centered strategy. Focusing on providing for customer needs and adapting will help you win the customers that matter most.
Improving the In-Store Experience
Each retailer might answer this differently, but how can you make your store a destination? How can you make shopping in-store a more compelling option for your customer?
Letâ€™s be honest, brick and mortar retailers canâ€™t usually compete on price. However, they can offer customers the best shopping and browsing experience possible. Make your store worth visiting. Try redesigning your store layout or stocking smaller, specialty brands customers probably wonâ€™t find on Amazon.
One brick and mortar store thatâ€™s getting the in-store experience right is the Disney Store. Recently, Disney unveiled a new outlet store with revamped features including trails of pixie dust, a magic mirror for kids to find out whoâ€™s the â€œfairest of them allâ€ and a mini theater for watching Disney movies and shows. With the new store design, Disney executives strived to make visiting the store an adventure and the best part of a childâ€™s day. Disneyâ€™s successfully creates an in-store experience that makes people want to shop in-store.
You donâ€™t need magic mirrors to create a destination store. Radioshack recently unveiled a new store layout thatâ€™s designed like a playground for technology. Take your specialty and get creative. Shopping should be an enjoyable and even fun activity for your customer.
Use Employees As a Resource
Successful innovations rarely come from one person. Go to the people on your front lines, your employees, and get their suggestions for improving the customer experience. They will know where customers struggle and when they get frustrated. Donâ€™t accept a customerâ€™s frustrations, find a way to continuously improve. You canâ€™t fix everything, but you can continuously work to improve the customer experience while remaining true to your brand identity.
Mobile Solutions for Brick & Mortar Store Challenges
What do giant internet retailers do well that keeps customers coming back? They offer quick, 1-click checkouts, additional product information beyond whatâ€™s on the packaging, great deals, and they effectively anticipate what the customer will want with personalized recommendations. Your customers can receive all of these benefits while shopping in your store with an effective mobile shopping app. Offer customers a mobile commerce solution that levels the playing field.
What can you give your customers so they choose NOT to open their Amazon price check app while shopping in your store? With a mobile app designed for the brick & mortar store, customers can scan products with a smartphone to view more product information or add items to a mobile shopping cart for a quick self check-out when theyâ€™re done shopping. Your mobile app can analyze what someone has scanned and automatically display recommendations of related products they might want using a built-in recommendation system. To combat low online prices, your mobile app can apply reasonable automatic discounts at checkout, and they can pay by phone inside your store. Customers enjoy being rewarded for shopping in-store.
Sound overwhelming? ShoppinPal has already built this functionality to make it easier for brick & mortar stores to have a mobile commerce app up and running quickly. Request a demo to see how it’d work for your store.
If somethingâ€™s good for shoppers, it’s good for retailers. You can win back customer loyalty with innovations. Despite what some say, customers still enjoy shopping in-store. Make your store a popular destination with amenities that keep shopping fun and enjoyable for shoppers.