Whether people are visiting their favorite store or online retailer, they are not just looking at acquiring an item or being sold something, they want a unique and personalized experience. Businesses that understand this principle have discovered a competitive advantage no matter what industry they are involved in. The most successful businesses are finding a way to foster a positive shopping experience both online and off by providing reliable customer service and establishing brand loyalty. Here is a look at some of the strategies these retail outlets are employing.
Forging an Online and Retail Partnership
There are a few ways that a business can ensure their brick-and-mortar stores are providing a cohesive experience with their online counterparts. Adopting and using technology can channel the strengths of both outlets to the business' advantage. By texting customer's mobile phones with special deals or coupons, it provides an opportunity for the consumer to choose what is most convenient for them.
Retail giants like Walmart are beefing up their websites as well as purchasing successful e-retail businesses like Bonobo. Likewise, some eCommerce giants like Amazon have purchased brick-and-mortar businesses like Whole Foods, to have a clear advantage over both spectrums of the market. Not only is Amazon acquiring businesses, they have opened up Amazon storefronts to gain traction with shoppers that prefer shopping in person. Retailers with an integrated approach can offer the vast inventory of online while also providing the personal customer service and tactile shopping experience shoppers crave.
Providing Consumer Incentives
Texts and email coupons or deals are a great touch. Not only do they remind consumers of your business' relevance but they plant a seed in the consumer's minds that they're important and in on something exclusive. Large businesses like Walmart and Home Depot have done a great job integrating their online sales with in-store visits by offering "free pick-up" or discounted items that are only available online. Likewise, many businesses are following Target's red card example. By providing a card that offers cash back and discounts, there is an incentive for brand loyalty. Amazon has created a similar service with their Amazon Prime Reload card. Another successful strategy is having a one-day sale that shoppers can participate by going in-store or offline.
Build Your Brand
Building your brand is a process with many variables to consider. What is your brand? Who is your ideal audience? How can you integrate your brand to fit cohesively with that of your audience's needs and desires? Answering these questions is part art and part science. You can consult with focus groups, online reviewers and pour over market research. What is important is the understanding that the customer comes first. It is not about selling things, it is about providing purchasing options and helping consumer's gain knowledge to decide that your company is their company of choice. A good website is a must, even if online selling is not your company's cup of tea. Also, having a strong presence online via social media can make a great impact. By being visible, you can increase your following. Having people actively promoting your products or services online is great marketing because it feels like the consumers are in control. In the era of "empowered consumers," those personal testimonials and reviews can be very meaningful and influential to a consumer's purchasing journey.
Provide a Seamless Customer Experience
Whether a consumer is navigating your website or your store aisles, they are on a journey. This mission is defined by their experience. As a business you want this journey to be as enjoyable and user-friendly as possible, from the initial stages down to the courier services. According to studies, 64% of consumers reached out to customer support to assist them with an online or in-store purchase. You want your personnel to be as friendly and knowledgeable as possible at all times. Likewise, you want your website to be as user-friendly and simplistic as possible. There is a right balance to presenting information that entices the consumer to scroll down and learn more. Everything your business does should try to help turn a purchase into a positive experience. Customers with positive experiences are 3x more likely to recommend you to their networks. Word of mouth is the best promotion a business could ask for.
Despite in-store shopping still being the predominant force in retail sales, eCommerce is only gaining traction. One of the most important factors that can determine the success of your online business is having a reliable and inexpensive courier service. Quick and affordable shipping can make or break a sale. For a great courier service or more information about online and in-store retail, contact us at eShipper, the shipping and shopping experts.