The Bright Future of Brick & Mortar
The digital age has without a doubt put some fear into the lives of retail business owners. The shift isn’t over yet, with Gen Z slated to make up the majority of the target audience in only one year from now.
Over the last few years, we have seen retail giants like Sears declare bankruptcy and Toys R Us make it through bankruptcy protection to restructure. On the other hand, the digital goliath that is Amazon made their retail debut and instilled a little bit of confidence in all of us that retail is alive and well – just different.
There’s one thing on small brick & mortar owner’s minds, “How do I bring my business into the digital age and prosper?” and it’s more than just having an e-commerce presence.
One of the biggest upsides to the digital age is the insane amount of data we have available to us. Your customers are used to seeing a curated version of everything, think social media feeds. The way you reach them should be no different - it’s time to “hyper-target”. For example, analyze purchase history to send them promotions that meet their needs. Whatever path you take, just remember that engaging with the customer and building that relationship is what’s most important.
Members of loyalty programs generate between 12% to 18% percent more revenue for retailers than do customers who are not members of the loyalty programs. If that’s not reason enough, loyalty programs and personalization feed off each other. The more your customers are coming in, the better your relationship (and the data you get from them) will be, especially if you’re offering them benefits fit to them.
The concept of door crashers is nothing new, but we tend to only see them around the big sale events like Black Friday and Boxing Day. Getting people to come through your door instead of shopping from their phone in bed is increasingly difficult. Offering an in-store incentive will help you achieve that face to face relationship you strive for. It may also get your customers to pick up a few extra items while they are in store too! Get creative with your promotions, you could hold a family day for example.
Buy Online, Pay in Store (BOPIS)
Another way to get customers to physically come in store is by offering BOPIS. As great a convenience as ordering online can be, it can be equally as much an inconvenience dealing with shipping and returns. BOPIS solves all those issues. If you’re not currently offering it on your e-commerce site, you should seriously consider it.
Expand your Presence
If your customers are everywhere, that’s where you need to be too. Opening other locations might not be an option, but there are plenty of ways to immerse yourself in your community. Big events such as farmers markets, street fairs, and flea markets are great places to connect with your customers. It gives them another chance to get hands-on with your products. Keeping your customers up to date on social media and by Email is just as important.