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Brick-and-Mortar and eCommerce: A Marriage Made in Heaven? (Part 2 of 2)

This is part two in a two-part series. You can read part one here.

In part one of this two-part series on creating the ultimate retail experience, online and off, we discussed reasons to take a walk on the opposite side of the retail world, but we didn’t talk about how to get started. Part two is all about giving you some simple ways to give your customers more of the retail experience they’d prefer.

The Ultimate in Omnichannel Supercharges the Shopping Experience

With brick-and-mortar retailers losing market share to online retailers and both losing share to an increasing fragmentation in the market, it’s more important than ever that your marketing and shopping experience is ultra focused on your customers and their needs.

It won’t do to simply line your shelves with products and hope they come, because they won’t. Consumers want retailers that understand them, can anticipate what they want and even what they’ll buy and who work to make purchasing simple—after all, those buyers are busier than they’ve ever been.

Here are a few ways you can improve the brick and mortar side of your shop with the addition of features common to eCommerce order management: 

In-store pickup of online goods. Increasingly, companies from clothing retailers to grocery chains are allowing customers to select and purchase entire orders online for pick up later. Customers love the added convenience and the time they save not having to hunt for obscure items. Instead of spending their lunches watching YouTube, these customers do their grocery shopping, then swing by the store on the way home to collect their prepaid order.

Offering alternative payment options. It’s super secure for customers to pay using their smartphones, but you have to make that option available for them. You can enable payment through your store’s app or upgrade your point of sale systems to accept cardless payments like PayPal and Apple Pay to make checkout even easier and more painless for everyone involved.

Launch a helpful in-store app. With a small investment, your store can really increase your customer touch by developing a helpful app. Depending on what you sell, your app might allow your customers to check current inventory with bar code scanning like the one published by home improvement store Lowe’s or provide a map to products like grocery chain Hyvee. This type of information can make shopping a breeze for customers, who are often frustrated by long waits for help for very simple requests an app could easily handle.

Geofencing to push appropriate ads and offers. By adding a beacon and the appropriate code to your app, you can actually improve your customer service game even further by suggesting items a customer might need based on their profile or push coupons or special offers when they approach specific sections of your store.

For example, if your app is connected to Facebook, it can understand that your customer is a 35-year-old married female with two school-aged children. Because you sell shoes and it’s mid August, it’s a good bet she’s shopping for back to school, or at least thinking about it. In this situation, your app could push a coupon for buy one, get one kids shoes, or 15 percent off shoes for the whole family. The additional functionality of your app makes this mother’s shopping trip a little easier and gives her a discount she wasn’t aware was available, earning her loyalty.

These are just a few examples of how you can use the same tools online retailers do to transform your brick and mortar store into a complete omnichannel experience. This goes well beyond just having a website, though that’s the best place to start. From your site, you can expand to other services like apps that you can program with useful push notifications to truly provide individualized service to your customer base.

 

August 11, 2016
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