There’s hope. There’s hope for the traditional, walk-in business in this fast-paced, tech-savvy era of retail. Many consumers and business owners are only choosing to see the 16 percent of brick and mortar retailers who are planning to decrease their locations within the year. However what they don’t see is that 43 percent of retailers are planning to increase their in-store locations before the end of 2018, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Forrester. The key to their success lies in the strategic use of omni-channel efforts to connect the customer directly with the company.
How do successful businesses allow the customer’s in person experience to be online and mobile friendly?
Follow these five omni-channel friendly tips to bridge the gap between Internet and in-store sales:
1. Allow your customers to pick-up online purchases in your location.
This technique gives customers the option to buy their items online, but it also redirects them to your store, where they may choose to purchase more items after they pick-up their product. Retailers such as Target, Home Depot, Nordstrom and Apple have integrated the BOPIS (buy online pickup in store) omnichannel model. Target has been very successful since adopting the BOPIS model in 2013. More than 10 percent of Target’s sales are online orders that customers pick up in stores.
2. Ship in-store products right to your customer’s doorstep.
If you have products in stock that your customers want immediately, don’t hesitate to send them the goods! Your brick-and-mortar location will get the product to your customer faster than it would for them to order the same product from a second-hand, online source. They will be grateful for the time you saved them, which will increase your customer loyalty. 92 percent of consumers trust recommendations from the people they know more than the brand itself. This means that brand loyalty is vital in your store’s success.
3. Engage customers with social media tactics.
In today’s interconnected world, it is important for your business to stay in touch with the needs and wants of your customers. People enjoy interacting with their favorite brands and staying updated on its latest products or services. Social media is a must. You can also consider using an app. It’s more than likely that your customers will search for your brand on social media prior to purchasing your products or services. Thus, it’s important to connect with your customers on these mediums because it promotes trust and awareness of your brand. The internet also makes sharing information between users simple. If your brand’s social media is ready to-go and interact, it will be easy for your loyal customers to share and promote your brand to potential new customers. It’s free advertising!
4. Install digital technologies such as Beacons, Navigation, or Loyalty Points to make the customer experience above average.
Beacons, navigation, and loyalty points are a few retail technologies among the many that enhance the in-store shoppers experience from their mobile device. Beacons let mobile apps listen for signals from “beacons” in the physical world and send the customer messages or coupons for products they might be interested in. Target and Nordstrom are two retailers who use this technique. Navigation is another digital technology that Home Depot and Lowe’s have taken advantage of. This feature allows the customer to find the products they need before even visiting the store. This type of navigation allows customers to fill an online shopping cart with products they need and then be virtually shown where each item is located inside their nearest brick-and-mortar location. Famous Footwear uses its app so customers can see their in-store and online purchases while receiving loyalty credit points. Abercombie & Fitch also uses mobile technology to ensure that customers get their correct size, and if the item is out of stock, A&F has a “scan to ship” feature that lets shoppers easily order the right size and has it shipped to their home.
These strategic uses of digital technology not only allow for a quick, seamless sale, but they allow for you to make a sale even if the item is out of stock. No matter what technology your brand has integrated into its brick-and-mortar, you will have positive results for both the company and your customer.
5. Leverage omni-channel intelligence to optimize the customer experience
Knowledge is power. Whether it’s mining for competitive pricing data online or auditing stores to ensurethat retail locations are complying to a brand’s merchandising specifications, the more you know, the better. If you can’t measure it, you ultimately can’t manage it. Visibility is key to ensuring that customers are getting the best experience possible, no matter the channel. Shoppers are more savvy than ever by being able to compare prices in the marketplace on the Web, at home, and at the brick-and-mortar with their mobile device. About 85 percent of customers say that the price must be right before they shop. We live in a time where calculated consumption is important to the shopper and the product’s price is at the forefront of their decision. To stay competitive with other retailers, you must know what your competitors are offering so you can benchmark your brand to be both unique and successful in the industry. Competitive prices will benefit your business by validating your company in the marketplace while pushing your brand and products to be the best they can be.
When it comes to brick-and-mortar stores, merchandising displays will impact your sales. GoPro recently wanted to audit how retailers were displaying their products, so they partnered with Wiser and NDP for help. Wiser launched an in-store program to determine the “health” of GoPro displays in retail outlets. From this data, GoPro was able to determine how important having an acrylic box around their displays was. The GoPro displays with security boxes performed 121 percent better than those without. This translates into more than $40 million in potential sales. It is important to analyze how your displays are impacting your sales and have your retailers correct them as needed.
By integrating an omnichannel culture into your business, your brick and mortar retail location can find success for years to come in this rapidly changing, online-based generation of consumers. These five omni-channel tips can significantly enhance your customers shopping experience both online and in-person. Even just incorporating one of these five tips will prove to be beneficial in your sales and your customers happiness.