The percentage of total sales from online is growing, but you can’t ignore the opportunity that offline still holds. Think of it less as online vs. offline, and more like achieving a unification between to two. It’s hard for retailers to get in front of customers, so your best approach is to connect the two, and create leverage through your offline channels. Stores as a channel help acquire customers, sell product, build your brand, and are profitable!
“What future-proof merchants realize is that 10% of every dollar spent in retail is online, while 90% is offline.” – Matt Bertulli, author of Anything, Anywhere, CEO of Demac Media
Use these strategies to unify digital + physical, drive sales, and build a business that will last!
COLLECT EMAIL ADDRESSES
Email should be your go-to for on-boarding new customers, particularly for converting, and retaining, offline customers to online customers. It’s your lowest hanging marketing fruit, and the best way to form better customer relationships!
ENHANCE IN-STORE MOBILE
According to Think With Google, 84% of smartphone shoppers use their devices while in a physical store. Boost your customer’s’ satisfaction by enhancing the in-store mobile experience. You can chose to show consumers location specific offers, let them check/redeem reward balances, compare prices, product availability, and reviews on their devices to encourage a sale.
OPTIMIZE POINT-OF-SALE EXPERIENCE
The introduction of products like Shopify Pay and other digital wallets is a big move forward in the commerce landscape. Consumers have formed the habit of paying for things on mobile devices, thanks to companies like PayPal. Now, these consumers have the option by-way of Shopify Pay and others like Apple and Android pay to transact using mobile in-store. Focus on providing this fast, seamless experience for your customers.
BE GLOBAL, BUT LOCAL
The beauty of eCommerce is ability to sell anything, anywhere, however you should still strive to attract your local market. The problem with physical stores is that they have a limited geographic reach, but don’t let that stop you from encouraging local customers to experience your brand physically (and hopefully your location is close to your target audience). In a digital world, human connections are highly valuable.
USE LOYALTY PROGRAMS
Loyalty programs have long been an excellent tool to drive customer lifetime value, building positive profitable relationships between retailers and customers. In an omnichannel world you must connect you online and offline programs in order to track how your customers prefer to shop. The data you uncover will provide you with better insights on how you can deliver a better customer experience, cross-channel, to increase loyalty and drive sales.
CREATE A COMMUNITY
In-store events are a easiest way for you to create a community of high-value customers. Don’t only focus on building a positive relationship between you and your customers. Encourage that your customers build relationships with each other. The majority of retailers are lacking this kind of loyalty building customer experience. The more create you get, the more value you’ll drive.
MAKE IT A STAND OUT EXPERIENCE
To successfully drive sales using your physical location(s) you need an amazing product and a standout in-store experience. Look at Warby Parker for example; they’re a digital first brand, that opened retail locations that primarily serve as a showroom for their product, with amazing customer service. Focus on being a retail environment that uses the latest digital technologies, in combination with exceptional service to win customers over.
Invest in training your sales associates properly! They should know everything possible about your products / services. Shoppers need your expertise to help them make a purchasing decision, so be the experts that they seek. Remember, it’s much easier to position your brand as the expert, and convert a browser into a buyer through an offline, one-on-one, interaction.
ACCEPT RETURNS IN-STORE
Accepting online returns in-store is a great sales opportunity for your business! You may have your reasons for not wanting to accept a return in-store, but allowing customers to bring their purchases back to a physical location will result in a better overall customer experience, and ultimately an increase in their lifetime value.
Don’t Dismiss Bricks and Mortar!
Digital’s growth has completely changes how consumers interact with physical environments. Stores are now a fragmented, multi-channel element of overall commerce, making offline a very important element in sustainable profitable retail business.