Thereâ€™s a new retail game and the customer determines the rules of engagement. Matching online prices or bulking up product SKUs is not enough to keep pace with a today’s savvy shopper. To stay in touch with this new smartphone shopper, merchants must give customers the ability to shop the way they want to shop, and do it well.
Wise retailers are striving to provide a shopping experience where every customer feels that their individual preferences, wants and needs are a priority from the minute they engage with the store, whether online, through mobile, or inside the store.
If retailers choose to sit on their hands right now and do nothing they risk losing relevance with customers. Retailers need to focus in on their inherent advantage — the ability to be locally and individually relevant through the products they sell, how they sell them and the shopper’s experience buying them. Staying relevant with customers means giving them the opportunity to shop the way they love to shop. Realizing that vision requires employing online and offline strategies based upon the modern customerâ€™s expectations.
With the widespread use of mobile devices, itâ€™s no longer optional to have some type of mobile presence. According to RSR Research, 87% of retailers see the value in smartphonesâ€™ ability to drive consumers into their stores. Mobile is a huge conversion opportunity for local retailers to gain a competitive advantage over competitors. Having a mobile presence will increase the possibility potential customers will find your store on their device and get the information they need to shop with you.
Millions of shoppers discover stores through popular location-based mobile apps, such as Google Maps, Yelp, Foursquare to name a few. Not only is it critical for local retailers to claim and manage their local listings through these services, but it’s crucial to give these shoppers a quick and easy way to buy through these channels. After all, mobile shoppers using these local apps are close to a purchase decision. ShoppinPal specializes in turning these popular location-based apps into powerful retail sales channels.
Merchandising and display is still crucial to influencing customer purchasing decisions in-store. By using attractive displays and store arrangements that optimally display products, retailers can persuade consumers to make a purchase decision.
Also, retailers can ask for exclusive product deals from manufacturers agreeing not to offer certain products/models online. This strategy seems to be working for Target, which has made some exclusive product agreements with technology and clothing suppliers.
76% of customers purchase more products based on merchant recommendations. Provide better customer service through well-informed sales associates. Retailers can leverage their built-in advantages of customer service and immediacy. An assisted sale vs. online self-service sales gives brick-and-mortar stores a huge advantage for certain types of sales. But don’t forget do include quick ways for shoppers to get recommendations as they shop on their phones, too, through views of the store’s most popular items, sale items, and specific product recommendations based on products they like.
One of the most popular ways for large brick & mortar chains are highlighting the benefits of a physical location is the ability to buy online and pick up in store. This allows customers to shop the way they want to shop (in this case, away from the store), and still get their items the same day instead of waiting for the order to be shipped.
When stores stress the benefits of immediate fulfillment vs. online shipping fees and the hassles of returns/exchanges for online sales combined with superior product knowledge, this can go a long way toward driving sales in-store and ensuring return visits.
An Online and Offline Strategy
Sometimes, thereâ€™s no substitution for the personal touch. Brick and mortar retailers can be more profitable by adapting to modern changes in consumer behavior to drive in-store sales. Todayâ€™s retailers must not only know how to sell, they must integrate smart online-offline marketing tactics available to gain an advantage over local and online competitors.