Via LinkedIn : Many retailers are struggling to compete in an online world and finding ways to get more shoppers to buy in your retail store rather than online can be challenging, but it’s not as hard as some people would have you believe. You can revitalize your retail store and revitalize shopping within it with just a little thought, study, planning and action.
Use Email Marketing
Use your online real estate, point of sale, and in-store QR codes to collect customer information so that you can market to them via email. Email is still the best way to engage with shoppers, offering them special in-store only discounts, as well as product education based on information that you collect from shoppers.
Provide Online Product Education
Shoppers typically go shopping armed with a lot of previously learned product knowledge before they walk into any retail store. Ensure that you are part of the way that they learned by providing a lot of online articles, blog posts, social mediacommunication and interaction, so that you control the education your audience receives and you are seen as an expert for your product range.
Create an In-Store Loyalty Program
Your shoppers do not need to carry annoying discount cards around for you to provide an excellent in-store shopper’s loyalty program. Large shops such as Sears offers the ability for shoppers to gather points by giving their email address at point of checkout, or online, every time they make a purchase. Give additional points for shopping in store, or using in-store pickup services.
Provide Excellent Customer Service
Nothing can beat fabulous, personalized customer service. One of the biggest complaints consumers have about their shopping experiences is lack of customer service. Most shoppers will pay slightly more for a great customer care experience in the store over feeling non-existent when purchasing online.
Embrace Rapid Expansion of Mobiles
It’s just a fact that mobile devices, along with easy internet access, make it possible for your customers to come into your store, browse the merchandise, then research other places to buy the same stuff. Instead of fighting it, make it easy. Offer free Wi-Fi, and become a resource to your store visitors with QR codes near products that will take them to online research. Many times, price isn’t the biggest stumbling block; its access and information so provide it and reap the rewards and if you don’t know how, connect with me and send me a message.
Offer Free Delivery or Curbside Pickup
Many purchases are lost due to the dreaded delivery cost. This is most especially true of larger purchases. While most products ordered online instead of being purchased in the store are smaller, it’s becoming more common to order larger purchases as well. You can combat that by making it very easy for your customers to get the item to their home as inexpensively as possible.
Make Your Store an Entertainment Destination
Many people shop only because they need something, but other people also shop for entertainment. If your audience study reveals information that can help you bring more people into the store, you should do it. For instance, if you cater to women, do you have a place for the husbands or fathers to sit down and enjoy themselves?
Generate In-Store Ambiance
Make displays attractive, make the lighting more pleasant, get rid of lines. Bring back beautiful window displays and make your store into an array of attractive looking “shops” and sections to make the entire shopping experience feel like an art exhibit. It doesn’t matter if you’re selling clothing, furniture, electronics or groceries, making the experience a beautiful one will bring people in and then back again if you keep it changed up.
Use the data gathered during audience research to determine what will work best for you to bring people back into your store to shop in person. It might be offering personal shoppers, it might be a matter of seating for companion shoppers, and it might be a matter of product education along with a knowledgeable staff. Whatever it is, you need to do it to bring customers into your shop again and again.
This is the sort of action retail store owners should be taking, I was amazed the other day that a group of retailers, many of whom have grown rich during the boom times are now calling on the Government here in Australia to introduce GST on all overseas goods rather than offering better value and service