Retailers have a significant challenge ahead of them with the rise in popularity of online shopping. Customers who are dissatisfied with the customer service at their local retail store can now simply order from an online store instead. And, as customers become more and more accustomed to ordering goods without having to step foot into a physical retail location, retailers may need to consider how they can adapt.
To compete against online retailers, traditional brick-and-mortar stores need to up their game to keep attracting customers. Here are a few ways that retailers can take on the challenge of competing with online stores:
1. Provide Excellent Customer Service
When customers are not able to touch and try on the goods that they are purchasing, retailers need to make sure that they are providing top-notch customer service. Online shoppers can’t ask questions about certain products or try them on before buying them, so it’s even more important for retail employees to be able to accurately describe what they’re offering.
2. Offer Free Shipping
Retailers should offer free shipping as a way to compete with online stores. Most online stores have significantly lower operating costs than brick-and-mortar outlets because of fewer staff members required, no rent paid for physical store space, and fewer inventory expenses. Retailers can offer free shipping to provide an incentive for customers who may have been considering ordering from an online store.
3. Personalize The Shopping Experience With Loyalty Programs
One way that traditional retailers can offer the same conveniences like online shopping is through personalized shopping services, such as loyalty programs and free shipping. By rewarding customers with personalized benefits for their continued business, they’ll be more likely to purchase goods at brick-and-mortar stores instead of online outlets. Customers will feel like they’re receiving a customized experience, and retailers won’t have to worry about losing business because of poor customer service or high prices.
4. Make the Most Out of Your Business Data
To truly compete with online stores, traditional retailers need business intelligence tools that will allow them to accurately measure business performance and stay on top of interests, price points, and other important business metrics. These business data tools can be used in a variety of ways to enhance the shopping experience for customers. For example, intelligence dashboards can help business owners identify trends in business performance over time so that they can make business decisions based on data instead of hunches. Companies can contact expert business intelligence consultants for help designing their own customized business data tools.
5. Update Your Business Website
Traditional retailers should also update their company website so that it is mobile-friendly and interactive, as many online stores. Customers may choose to visit your website before they make a purchase because of the convenience of shopping on their computers or phones instead of having to step foot in a store. Retailers can use their website to provide detailed product information and images, make online ordering easy to do, and include loyalty programs as an option for customers.
6. Get On Social Media
Retailers should consider using social media to their advantage. Use Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other social networking sites to your advantage by being active in the online community. Retailers can share deals on products with followers or take orders directly from their Instagram accounts. By connecting with customers through these platforms, you will have access to a large consumer base and can make your business more accessible.
7. Offer In-Store Pickup
Retailers that are struggling to compete with online stores should consider offering in-store pickup as an option for convenience. Customers will be able to place their orders from the comfort of their own homes but won’t have to wait for their order to arrive in the mail or have to pay for shipping. Instead, they will be able to pick up their orders at a time that is convenient for them!
8. Participate in Specialty Outlets
Another option for retailers is to participate in specialty outlet shows. These are stores that are usually located close to airports so that customers can shop before or after their flights. They are significantly smaller than brick-and-mortar stores because they only carry discontinued brand-name items. Retailers should consider participating in these outlets because they will have access to a large amount of foot traffic, meaning an opportunity for more sales!
Retailers are finding themselves in a tough spot these days as customers turn to online stores for their shopping needs. To compete with the convenience of ordering from home, retailers should consider implementing some or all of the above tips to offer customers a personalized, customized shopping experience.