In Part One, we looked at ways to differentiate the in-store experience from the online experience. This time, let’s look at another approach – how to adapt the successful strategies of an online retailer to your traditional brick and mortar.
Imagine for a minute what it would look like if E-Bay was a brick and mortar store. They would immediately know every item that you set your eyes on and would keep those items aside for you at the counter. They would analyze your choices to better understand your tastes, interests, and budget and to learn what sort of products you might want in the future. They would show you reviews and give you product suggestions. If you actually purchased something, they would collect personal data such as your gender, your address, your credit card details, your email address and more, using that information to re-market to you over and over. How can you even begin to compete with that? Read on:
In the same way that an online retailer collects data, you can collect insights from people in your store. How do they move through your store, what do they look at, how long do they look? Observe and record client behavior and encourage employees to interact with customers to find out their interests are, what their budget is, what sort of items they are looking for now and what they might be looking for in the future. For example, if a customer purchases a bicycle, it’s likely they will be interested in a helmet, a bike rack, lights for visibility or sunglasses. You don’t need to assault them with a barrage of add-on products – no one enjoys pushy upsell tactics, but by listening to them, you can better assess their experience level and get a sense of what they have and what they need. In other words, you simply need to observe and listen to your customers and then think like them.
In store apps such as iBeacon are popping up everywhere. These apps communicate with shoppers via their mobile device while they’re in your store. They can offer customers deals, discounts, recommendations, and rewards and even enable mobile payments. It’s real-time, relevant marketing to your customers.
Build Your Database.
Start collecting customer information at check-out, even if it’s just their email address and what they’re interested in (product information, specials, events etc.). Have a spot on your website and social media where you ask for these details. Use this, in combination with the other information you’re gathering, to send out relevant information and offers to your customers, including price alerts. This will strengthen your relationship with them and prompt them to come back to your store with a sense of urgency. Also make sure that you reward buyer loyalty with either special offers or events. Tailor your loyalty program based on who your customers are and what’s important to them.
Access to Information.
People love to shop online because they can research and read reviews from other customers. Come up with a way to show clients this same information. If you use an in-store app, that’s a great way to give clients access to product information and reviews. If that’s not possible, post printed information or customer comments with your products or use a simple star rating system based on customer feedback (think dollar store stickers here). Encourage customers to give real reviews and feedback that you can use. They will appreciate that you asked for their opinion, and your future customers will benefit.
Ever notice when you look at something online and the next thing you know, an ad for that store or item is popping up everywhere? This is not magic people (it’s cookies), but this type of remarketing can be hard to replicate in a brick and mortar environment. One way to adapt this strategy is to network within your community and identify businesses that target a similar demographic and offer complimentary service. Develop cross-promotions or cross-advertising to give buyers an incentive to visit or re-visit your store. Use Google or Facebook ads to target specific areas or demographics. You can even create physical wish lists enabling your customers to go home with a list of items that they didn’t buy, but maybe wanted to. Make it something wallet-sized so they have to see it every day. This will ensure that your business or products remain top of mind.
Next time you feel overwhelmed with your online competition, remember that this high-tech, online world we live in is our friend, not our enemy. Your customers can access information and make decisions quicker than ever before, but so can you. Use this to your advantage to create exceptional customer experiences and to build a real relationship with your clientele. As a brick and mortar store, you have the unique ability to integrate the best of both worlds. All that you need to do now is get out there and get started.
If you have any questions regarding the information above or if you would like to discuss getting the right insurance for your small business, commercial general liability insurance, or for personal risk management, our Bullfrog Insurance brokers would be happy to help you out. Contact us today for a free quote!