The Secret to SMB Retailer Success May Already Be in Your Store
By David Salisbury, VP of Sales and Marketing, Star Cloud Services
Brick-and-mortar stores aren’t dead. Neither are SMB retailers.
As we dive deeper into the digital age, e-commerce continues to be an important player in the retail space. With retail giants luring consumers online by offering free or two-day shipping, brick-and-mortar stores have had to figure out ways to stay relevant and to keep shoppers coming back to their stores.
Online shopping isn’t going away anytime soon. However, neither are brick-and-mortar retailers. According to a Nielsen report, across multiple categories, the percentage of consumers who use online channels to browse for products before actually going to buy the product in-store is comparable to the percentage of consumers who browse online and then also carry out transactions online. For example, for the clothing, shoes and accessories category, 46 percent of consumers were only using the Internet to look for products they would eventually buy in-store – the same percentage as those who browsed and then proceeded to buy the product online. So, what can you, the retailer, do with this information?
- Learn what your customers want. You might be using promotions to attract shoppers to your store, but how do you know if you’re promoting the right product? Getting to know your customers’ wants and needs is key to determining where you should focus your promotional efforts. By using shopper data to learn more about what customers are buying, you could capitalize on otherwise missed opportunities.
- Take advantage of solutions already available. As a retailer you have a wealth of data and insight at your disposal – you just need to a way to access it. Certain items already on your countertop – including your receipt printer – could provide you with the solution you need to stay competitive. You may not know it, but you are sitting on wealth of knowledge about your customers’ shopping habits, and it’s all waiting to be accessed. Using this data will allow you to better reach and engage shoppers, so you can ultimately provide them with a better experience.
- Leverage in-store shopping with a digital experience. As convenient as online shopping is, many people still prefer the act of going to a store, holding tangible items and purchasing things they may not have originally intended to purchase. In order to capitalize on shoppers purchasing in-store, it is important to make the process as convenient as possible. By providing a digital experience within the store, shoppers will be less likely to take their next purchase online. Inconveniences, like keeping track of printed receipts, might not seem like major deterrents, but could easily end up pushing customers to purchase online instead. Offering shoppers alternative solutions, like digital receipts, is one minor adjustment that could make a big difference.
Online shopping might be here to stay, but it hasn’t become the prominent force in shopping yet; in fact, according to Forrester, e-commerce is predicted to account for only 9 percent of retail sales in 2016. This means that brick-and-mortar stores haven’t quite lost their edge, and with the right tools they can remain as competitive as ever before.
Photo Credit: Winter Park, Florida provided by Retail Minded