Retailers have been shutting doors left and right from East, West and all over the United States. Arguably, a big driver behind that is the success of Amazon. Ironically, retail is expected to rise, but only if brick and mortar stores can take steps to drive foot traffic to their particular store. Even so, that is not the best plan of action for all companies; some have decided to take their business solely online. Read on to find out the best elements of the consumer experience to add to your own store to best compete.
Have a Digitally-Integrated Business to Some Degree
It is a prerequisite to have a digitally-integrated business. The percentage of business that will be conducted online with vary from company to company. For some, including many department stores, have announced focusing more on online offerings and closing a percentage of their physical locations. As long as e-commerce and m-commerce is up to par, that can be a smart move. Then the focus can remain on the physical stores that have shown promise of growth. Another option, is going the route of The Limited, which revealed they will be moving to a strictly e-commerce platform. An example of a company with an incredible omnichannel platform is Warby Parker. Coincidentally, they are doing the opposite of many retailers are and moving their strictly online store to brick and mortar will some selectively placed retail locations.
Create an Experience
We live in a digital society that still craves in-person interaction. So, how do you best deliver the best experiences across platforms? Online, customers want to see reliable and fast customer support, personalized content, and offers relevant to each consumer. Instead of relying entirely on demographics alone, using comprehensive data based on previous purchases, searches, etc will enable a site to better engage with each individual. The online store needs to feel like it exists to make life easier.
For a brick and mortar location, the store needs to be able to pick up where the online site leaves off. For example, Home Depot and Lowes have seen a 23 percent rise in retail the recent quarter partially due to their in-store experience. Both stores have associates that have created an environment of helpfulness. When a homeowner has a lighting issue or need help picking a paint color they have a safe space to go in and ask for solutions on products and course of action. That in turn, makes them irreplaceable and keeps the store going strong. Other retail locations can find their niche and how they can make themselves indispensable to their customer.
There is no one size fits all solution to finding the best path to compete in the hostile retailer environment. For some companies and online-only approach is best, for others a marriage between the two is key. Either way, a strong digital approach cannot be ignored. Thorough research on customer needs and data showing what channels drive most success can pinpoint the best plan of action. This way, you can avoid getting “Amazoned” before its too late.