With the digital revolution taking over every aspect of our lives, many prophets, or prophets of doom if you prefer, are predicting the end of the retail store. However you can breathe easy as it’s highly doubtful that we will ever see the end of the bricks and mortar walk-in shop. However, retail stores cannot continue “business as usual” if they wish to remain competitive. While it is challenging to compete with the plethora of online stores, many shoppers will never give up the in-store experience, so it’s up to retail owners to make sure their stores still attract customers.
These days every store pretty much has a website and some sort of social media page at the very least. This is not enough, and in order to survive, they must embrace some sort of e-commerce on their website, which will complement their store and offer an additional income source. This way they can enjoy the best of both worlds.
Shopping malls are still popular, with the majority of them still attracting plenty foot traffic. The problem is getting that traffic to come your way. Location-based mobile marketing, whereby mobile devices can track shoppers’ location and send them information on discount and specials in your store, is working successfully for many small and large businesses. This is no longer a gimmick but a routine part of many consumers’ shopping lives. This is not random info from random stores but often targeted advertising based on a shopper’s preferences.
The reasons stores are going nowhere fast is because many people still appreciate the shopping experience. They see it as a social activity and still enjoy the tactile experience of touching and seeing goods in the ‘flesh’. But if stores want to compete, they need to relook their in-store experience. It’s not enough to paint your walls and put up a few shelves, consumers have a myriad of choices and options, so stores need to be innovative and creative.
Look at your target market and provide something different, draw people in and make it memorable. Invest in your brand and make your shopper’s visit a memorable one. This means hiring the right staff, getting the correct look and feel, and engaging with your customers on a different level. Whether you offer a coffee, a foot massage or funky art on your walls, you need to stand out from the crowd.
Make sure shopping at your store is not only pleasant but convenient as well. Your customers should find what they need with ease, and you should avoid long queues at your POS. Ensuring you have a modern and efficient POS system, will go a long way to avoiding lengthy waits for your paying customers. After all, you never want to give buyers time to change their mind.
By building up a database of your clients, you are able to engage with them via social media, newsletters and text message. You can build up a profile on your clients and find out what they want, allowing you to target them with relevant information on specials, discounts and new products, without bombarding them with a catch-all advertising campaign.
Pop-up shops or flash retailing is a method of spreading your store’s brand by renting short-term retail space in different locations, exposing your brand to new markets and demographics. This is a relatively inexpensive way of attracting new clientele, which will directly complement your existing store, if you have one.
Don’t listen to the naysayers, it’s clear that bricks and mortar are here to stay, but you can’t rest on your retail laurels if you want to stay successful. You need to be creative, and provide innovation and inspiration, while also embracing the digital tools at your exposure.
Contact your retail software specialists for more information on making your in-house shopping experience more convenient and pleasant for your shoppers.