Traditional brick-and-mortar retailers must consider how to remain relevant in today’s digital age. From laptops to smartphones and tablets, shoppers have never been more connected with American Internet usage rising dramatically in the last several years.
Seventy-seven percent of shoppers are online daily, with 43 percent online multiple times throughout a single day. Brick-and-mortar stores can connect with these shoppers and increase in-store traffic by considering and integrating a few strategies.
Enhance the In-Store Experience
Because shoppers can have almost any product or service with just a few taps of a keyboard, it’s essential for physical stores to offer something more. When shoppers choose to visit your store, provide an experience they can’t have online.
Some ideas to consider:
- Personal shoppers or styling
- Exclusive in-store merchandise
- Easy in-store ordering via tablet or touchscreen
- Complimentary water, coffee or snacks
Another way to enhance the in-store experience is to offer a type of build-your-own station. This may range from selecting a custom six-pack of local wines to building a basket of specialty items.
Whether you create large-scale retailtainment experiences or just offer down-to-earth shopper enhancements, motivate your buyer to visit your physical location.
Create Interactive Shelves and Displays
In-store customers expect visual merchandising to be eye-catching and innovative. With the right shelving display — whether wall-mounted or standing — you can create an interactive experience with a well-placed tablet or touchscreen monitor. Interactive displays are engaging and easy to change frequently to help keep the in-store experience fresh. These displays can provide additional product or service information, demos, and even allow a shopper to place an order for home delivery or to check if another size or color is available.
Utilize Social Media
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can’t be ignored by businesses in this digital age. Brick-and-mortar stores need to keep up with and utilize social media to stay relevant. A quick Google search can reveal the hashtags and keywords to most benefit your business, brand and products. Incorporate those hashtags and keywords to boost visibility. Be sure to have regular posts, scheduling at least three to five per day. It’s also important to respond to comments promptly, providing interaction and customer service digitally.
Embrace the App
Seventy-seven percent of Americans own a smartphone. Demographics for smartphone usage continues to widen, the numbers increasing with the expanse of our digital age. Now is a good time to consider an app for your store, one that’s accessible for free and compatible with Android or Apple products. Use a store app to offer customers digital coupons, special sales alerts, and as a platform for a rewards program instead of the old-school punch cards. Apps may also recommend products based on past purchases or what’s currently in the digital cart.
Update the Website
Because your shoppers are online regularly, it’s important to have an updated website that’s on trend and easy to use. It can be beneficial to hire a web designer to revamp it if it looks out of date. Check other brick-and-mortar stores’ websites and see what’s working for them and what isn’t. Include a blog that offers fashion trends or how-to articles that can be linked back to your products. Make sure your corresponding social media links are easy to access and always include share buttons for each post.
Another important aspect in updating the website is to incorporate localized SEO (search engine optimization). This means keywords or phrases that help your ranking in online searches. SEO makes it easier for customers to find you online.
Go Head-to-Head With Online Competitors
E-commerce continues to grow, but a physical store can compete with online competitors. If your online competitors offer same-day delivery, it’s something to consider. In-store pickup can be a plus, as well. Once the customers come in to pick up their item(s), they can then enjoy engaging in-store experiences and high-level customer service that’s not available when shopping online. Another idea is to price-match with your online competitors.
Customers shop across multiple channels, often browsing merchandising online before visiting a physical store. To stay relevant and engage digital-age customers, brick-and-mortar stores need to consider their current omnichannel presence and how best to maximize technology to create conversions.
Author bio: Amit Adler is Vice President of Sales at UDIZINE, established in 1995 and distinguished internationally for the diversity of its display systems. Adler has background in international sales and business development.