Brick and mortar stores took hit after hit in 2020, as the coronavirus pandemic took its toll and many of them had to completely reinvent in order to “stay alive”. Add the fact that online shopping skyrocketed – like it wasn’t gaining market share from traditional shopping already – and it’s not that difficult to understand what many retail stores went through.
What can we call ‘a downward trend’ was significantly notable among smaller brick and mortar stores, as they have access, in most cases, to limited resources for supporting the development of new e-commerce operations or building a solid online presence.
So what should they do in order to remain operational?
Trying to replicate personalized experiences, similar to those offered by eCommerce platforms, could be a great start, helping stores to maintain their competitiveness. Specifically, we’re talking about applying strategies focusing on top customer experiences, able to enhance long-term success potential for the brick and mortar retail segment.
We’ve identified a set of tips on how brick and mortar stores can offer better experiences to customers, but also boost loyalty. Nothing too complicated, but often ignored by many business owners, as a side note.
Leverage all relevant platforms
Gone are the days when a store’s footprint was limited just to a physical space. It’s all about OMNICHANNEL – we live in a digital era and now it goes beyond the physical walls, as consumers are finding out about their favorite brands in completely new ways, thanks to the technology they have access to.
Smartphone, tablets, social media channels. All these led to the creation of direct lines through which retails can talk to potential customers, as part of a ridiculously simple process. So it would be a shame if a brick and mortar store that wants to live in 2021 doesn’t take advantage of it.
Our recommendation would be to consider being present on the social media networks, as well as other mobile platforms where your regular clients are present and try to reduce the gap between product delivery and purchase intent. Why? This will allow customers to buy from wherever they are!
Trying to implement an omnichannel retail model comes with many advantages, including increasing your customer base. Also, being available on multiple platforms increases customer satisfaction.
Think about “hands-free” shopping
Want to offer a better customer experience?
Let customers digitally select the items they want to buy, of course! And we have an example good enough to give you an idea about how this concept works!
Let’s say that you’re a clothes store owner. Think about giving your showroom a complete makeover and load it with tablets, from which shoppers can obtain all the information they need about the items usually found in your store and, of course, the possibility of buying them. All the information they provide, like size or color, is collected and employees bring the right items directly to the fitting room.
Effortless, modern, and most important, safe! Because yes, whether we like it or not, we need to prioritize customers’ safety these days.
As a bonus, you are able to collect ridiculously valuable data on customers’ preferences, otherwise impossible to gather in a traditional store. Data that can be used to improve even more the overall experience, by knowing exactly which sizes are the most sought after and which styles are bought the most often.
Again, this is just a scenario. But with a bit of entrepreneurial imagination, we’re sure that it could work wonders for many brick and mortar stores.
Put in-store marketing robots to work
We know, this sounds a bit…unusual. In fact, it makes more sense than you can think of.
Remember many years ago when people were talking about robots replacing humans for many common tasks? Well, it’s already happening. Sure, not like we were picturing it, but it’s definitely happening. And robots can be exactly what a brick and mortar store needs to offer a one-of-a-kind shopper experience.
We were among those who were probably way too enthusiastic about seeing robots among us. In fact, we were so thrilled with the idea that we started making our own.
The Tokinomo robotic device combines motion, light, and sound / voice to interact with the customer, thus bringing FMCG products to life at the shelf. It is easy to use, easy to install, and really hard to forget once a customer gets in touch with it. This is that kind of customer experience you want to tell people about.
Ask your customers
Did we say something about improving customer experience being easier than you might think? Oh well, we’re going to say it again: it’s easier than you might think!
Before you start thinking about some innovative ways of doing it, don’t forget about one of the most valuable resources you can access: clients’ feedback. There are a lot of situations in which those who are the biggest fans of your business know exactly what it’s missing. So go ahead, ask them!
You can collect feedback through different methods, both offline and online, and we’re sure that you will come across a few great tips which you can make good use of. Oh, and don’t forget to add a reward for those who helped you. A small discount should do the trick in most cases, while also increasing brand loyalty.
Before wrapping it up, there’s one more thing to add: when it comes to helping a brick and mortar store get through these difficult times, don’t think just about in-store marketing techniques with the sole purpose of selling, as much as possible. It’s essential to understand your customers and their needs. In the end, it’s them who keep the business running and your mission should be making sure they remain loyal.