Yes a big online platform such as Amazon can be scary and should be as online shopping is definitely a trend.
However just like all restaurants will not disappear because of the rise of Foodora most of the brick-and-mortar retailers will not die. Only the one who can’t adapt.
Except from Kogan as you can see there, the most powerful retailers in Australia still have physical stores and that’s because it’s still possible to compete with online retailers. In order to be part of those who will make it there are a few steps to follow.
1. Cherish Millennials
With the rise of digital and e-commerce and huge online companies such as Instagram, Amazon or Ebay you would think that young people prefer ‘the cloud’. However this is not what research shows.
Most global millennials (70%) prefer brick-and-mortar retail stores, according to CBRE.
Generation Z is set to reach 2.6 billion by 2020, with $44 billion in buying power, according to a study by IBM and the National Retail Federation.
So not only millennials are a huge target market but they actually do prefer physical stores. It is necessary to take into account millennials preference at your next strategy meeting. And what do millennials love? This is point 2.
2. Focus on the experience
Experience is they key and that is the main point of differentiation with online retail.
Appealing to all senses in order to create a superior customer experience is the way to go. By making sure people have something that they can’t find online will drive customer to your store to feel good, happy and enjoy a positive experience.
One sense in particular has been neglected for long and could place you above the crowd: the sense of smell.
Three out of four people (74%) have been impulsively drawn into a store by a smell. This is because scent is linked to emotion meaning that people will feel and experience rather than rationalising. By diffusing a scent that matches your brand in your store you can make sure that customers will love their stay in your store, will be willing to stay longer and will remember you for a longer time.
3. Engage your target market through social media
Mouth-of-word has always been the most effective way to gain new customers. When someone is satisfied they will let know their friends and entourage. On Facebook this entourage is even bigger than in real life. This is why there is an opportunity here that can’t be missed.
According to studies 88 consumers trust an online review just as much as a face-to-face recommendation. By being present online and addressing any positive or negative feedback brands can improve customers’ perception of their brand.
4. Providing excellent customer service
Customer service is less important that ambiance according to ICM.
However this does not mean that customer service should be rushed or neglected. Making sure that your staff is polite, well-behaved and knowledgeable about the store ensures that customers would be happy to come back into the same store.
Bubbly but not too pushy sales person creates a friendly atmosphere that makes you comfortable and more likely to ask questions if you need to like if they have this extra size in stock.
5. Collect data
Collecting data all the time is the key.
You cannot guess what your customer want, by assumptions. It is important to measure it by actually collecting data.
Who is coming to your store? What do they want to purchase? Which department they visit and in which order? What stopped them from buying today?
All those questions should be answered to continuously improve your store and make sure your customers’ expectations are met.