As the brick-and-mortar vs online retail battle gets intense by the day, we are all inquisitive to know if this battle will ever end. If yes, which side will win. Going by the way e-commerce giants are increasingly eating a larger pie of retail sales, a lot of us are a bit unsure about brick-and-mortar retailers winning this battle.
Can our physical retail stores beat online giants? Well, I think they can! In this post I will discuss 5 ways retailers can get an edge over e-commerce stores. Let’s get started:
1. Using ‘showrooming’ to their advantage: We all know that customers check product information on their mobile phones. Using technologies such as iBeacon, retailers could send detailed product information, videos, social reviews and more to help shoppers make a data-backed decision – while still in-store!
Best Buy is a great example of how retailers can combat showrooming by embracing it:
1) They started a holiday ‘Low Price Guarantee’ campaign, promising that they would be on par with those of e-commerce websites like Amazon or discounter Wal-Mart.
2) They’ve used the tagline of ‘Your Ultimate Holiday Showroom’ as a fun way to embrace showrooming.
This way, they’ve highlighted fact that they’ve offered the latest technologies at a low price, inviting customers to come to their stores to experience the products in real life.
2. Embracing the power of Social Media: With reports claiming that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, getting the social brand image right is of upteem importance.
By analyzing social media reviews, retailers can tap into customer sentiment and use that insight, also called “social intelligence,” to optimize their in-store customer experience. Social media also provides a platform for retailers to interact with consumers and respond to feedback, which can significantly improve brand perception and even reverse negative impressions.
3. Providing excellent customer service: Training floor staff to be experts in the merchandise, giving them the technology to have ready access to social media and online reviews, and empowering them to share their deep product knowledge without always pushing for an immediate sale – can cut the deal.
UK grocery retailer Waitrose uses iBeacon technology for this, in a very interesting way. Shoppers can use their phone as a Quick Check handset, scanning items to check information including reviews and ratings about the products as well as call for assistance. If a customer calls for assistance, members of the staff receive the request on an iPad informing them that a customer is waiting for help. The location of the customer is relayed with the help of iBeacon technology. Customers can also add products they like, to the basket with one click.
4. Personalizing the customer shopping experience like never before: Retailers can use new technologies, such as beacons to target customers with truly personalized offers by syncing customers’ shopping lists, wishlists and favourites with their app.
Waitrose’s latest scheme that allows shoppers to pick their own offers, is a great example of this. With this “game-changing” personalised marketing initiative, myWaitrose loyalty cardholders can select 10 products that they would like to save 20% on. Customers can hand-pick their 10 products from a list of 1,000 own-label and branded goods, which includes staple basket items including fruit, vegetables, bacon and eggs, alongside more “special” treats.
5. Providing add-on services: Services such as ‘click-to-collect’ and ‘reserve-in-store’ are very popular among customers as it gives them flexibility to buy immediately and collect it themselves rather than waiting for delivery.
Offering services such as indicating product availability, so that customers with items in an online shopping cart can also locate those items in a store they are passing by (if the same item is in stock there), make the promise of an omni-channel retail experience closer to reality.
Nordstrom, offers services such as ‘show nearby item availability’ in its e-commerce store and allows customers to pick those items up in-store. The department store recently began testing ‘curbside pickup’, where online shoppers can fetch items they’ve purchased online by texting or calling customer service as they arrive at the store’s door.
With brick-and-mortar retailers increasingly digitizing their in-store experiences, they are definitely making a comeback, something that’s critical to a retail strategy. And in their attempt to do so, they’re shaping the future of retail more so, even, than e-commerce giants.Business & Finance Articles on Business 2 Community