Sometimes it feels like the world believes that bricks-and-mortar stores are dying, but as we’ve written before that’s just not true. But what is true is that retailers have to work harder to get people to come into their store.
We’ve all read the cautionary tales about big businesses going bankrupt or shutting down. If you’re in a good financial position, there’s no reason to worry, but if not, there are certain things you can do to create a better customer experience for shopping in-store. And even if you are in a good financial position, these strategies could help you draw in more revenue and who doesn’t want that?
- Get Customer-Focused
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again — you have to think like your customer. Go into the store and walk around. What would you buy? Where would you stop? What doesn’t look appealing to you? Obviously, this can’t be all anecdotal — that’s where good retail analytics come in — but first-hand experience is a start.
Besides what looks good, you have to think about customer service. How are people who come into your store being treated? Are products in stock? Is the checkout process smooth? This isn’t always something you can see and test for yourself, but there are ways you can keep tabs on this (such as using mystery shoppers). If you notice a retailer or product is underperforming, these seemingly little things can make a huge different for the in-store experience.
- Switch Up Product Displays Regularly
Even the best-looking product displays will get stale if they’re left up too long. You have to change your visuals. Let me repeat — you have to switch up your visuals. This isn’t just a nice-to-do, it’s a must-do. Whether it’s creating a seasonal display, featuring a sale special, or just changing your window display, those things make a difference and bring customers in. Do you have a new product in stock? Feature it! Do you have a great discount going on? Advertise it! And with that said, make sure you are getting in new products. Part of the popularity of off-brand retailers, like Winners and Marshalls, is that customers never know what they’re going to find. You can use this in your own store, too, by switching up your own inventory.
- Create an Immersive Experience
A great product display can also be more than just signage — and this is one area where bricks-and-mortar stores can really stand out: experiences. When shopping online, people can’t touch or feel the products. They can’t demonstrate how they’re used. They can look at a picture or video, but it’s different from seeing it in person.
Take for example MAC, a makeup retailer that’s continuing to do very well in-store. Customers can go in and try the products before buying and there are sales associates there who help select the best lipstick shade, etc. Now this might be different from, say, a kitchen accessory retailer, but it doesn’t have to be. Imagine if instead of keeping the products just on-shelf, that retailer let customers test out a zucchini on the spiralizer, grind up almonds in a high-powered blender, taste wine from different glasses. Wouldn’t that create an experience that would keep people coming back?
As George Minakakis wrote in this thought-provoking article, it’s not a retail apocalypse we’re experiencing. Instead, it’s a disruptive innovation. There will still be bricks-and-mortar stores and the ones that are having trouble, it’s likely not just ecommerce causing that.
Whenever there’s a paradigm shift, we have to look at how we can adapt. So, what can you do to ensure you change with the times?
This doesn’t have to be stressful and you don’t have to go it alone. Storesupport Canada can help you make the most of the in-store customer experience. Learn more about our services today by calling 1-877-421-5081 or visiting www.storesupport.ca.