With more people turning to online shopping, retailers are seeking new ways to improve the in-store shopping experience.
With the rise of smartphones, tablets, and other social technology, nearly every prospective buyer has the Internet at their fingertips. While this is great for retailers that cannot afford a physical store or are looking to build a national customer base, brick-and-mortar stores are seeing a steady decline in profits that are putting some businesses in jeopardy.
Online selling may be a double-edged sword, but don’t shut down shop just yet! Let’s take a closer look at some of the new tactics, strategies, and technologies that are helping physical stores win back some of the customers they have lost to the online market.
Use Social Media to Your Advantage
Whether your store is part of a large chain or a single location set-up, social media provides a free marketing opportunity—and could be your most effective tool for bringing customers into your location.
Create a profile page for your store on any and all of the major social media websites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Print out some invitations explaining to your customers how to “like” your pages on the social networks, hand them out with every in-store purchase, and announce it through your existing customer loyalty email list if you have one. Most stores will offer customers some type of incentive for joining or liking their pages, such as a small discount off their next purchase.
Social media is also the easiest way to spread the word about special sales and events at your location. Customers are much more likely to make the trip to your establishment if they know they’ll get a deal.
Develop a “Showrooming” Plan to Entice Customers
“Showrooming” is a technique that has been sweeping the retail industry for the last few years. Once only used to sell cars and appliances, showrooming is the process of displaying your top selling, newest, or most appealing items strategically throughout your store so that they catch the customers’ eye and entice them to look for more.
Once They’re In, Enhance the Customer Experience
Many retailers look down on this tactic because on the customer side of the business, showrooming leads customers to come in to browse and then make their purchases online, depending on which has the better deal or pricing. The key to successful
showrooming is to draw them in with the visuals, get them to buy, and keep them coming back by enhancing their experience.
One of the most popular ways retailers are accomplishing this is by creating a faster checkout experience. Customers love shopping online because there are no lines and transactions are completed instantly. To keep them coming back, aim to decrease the amount of time your customers are spending in line. One effective trend is to invest in handheld POS stations so that your employees can ring out your customers who are paying with a credit or debit card from anywhere in the store.
There are countless new strategies and technologies available for brick-and-mortar businesses that are trying to effectively compete with the growing online market. Social media and enhanced customer service are the best bets for those with a limited budget.