Merging online and bricks and mortar
In 1999 when I was working at the Australian Retailers Association, I read that MYER was adamant that its online sales would only ever be 10% of total sales revenue.
How times have changed.
With bricks and mortar retailers battling declining sales, it’s easy to think that this decline is due to online shopping. It’s even pitched in the media as competing for sales rather than being part of the overall picture. It’s said online sales are growing because of the convenience, broader product selections and competitive prices.
But this isn’t helpful. It turns customers into low value buyers of suppliers.
Isn’t it time to consider a future where the retail customer has multiple ways to connect with your brand, rather than a binary online VERSUS store scenario?
It would require congruence to be relevant to the customer’s choice of channel and their reasons to shop via each one.
Yes online is critical. And it’s here to stay for all of the reasons already cited earlier.
So why is Chadstone Shopping Centre always so busy?
I THINK IT’S BECAUSE SHOPPERS ARE HUNGRY FOR THE FEELING THEY GET WHEN THEY WALK AROUND THERE. I KNOW I AM.
Do you give your customers reasons to get off the couch, leave their office or brave the weather to come into your store?
Because if you don’t, then your future is written.
Here are 3 ways to look at connecting with your customers via both channels and start your thinking:
ONE: Click and collect
Does your team simply process the order or do they:
Provide a plus value experience when shoppers come in to collect their online purchases?
Connect with customers personally?
Show them what else would look great with their selection?
Get to know that customer?
Invite them back
TWO: YouTube or Instagram to capture new ranges with real customers
Does your brand blur the lines of online and store by having a dedicated social media area for customers to share curated content of their experience with your product while in store?
Is your team able to present to camera?
Is your team the best brand ambassadors?
What are all of the ways your product can provide a better connection with customers using social media while in-store AND act as a tool to attract others to come in?
THREE: Make the store experience worth leaving the couch for
Human beings are wired for connection.
Build a tribe of customers and front line staff who are emotionally connected to your brand! If you fail to arm your front line team to connect on an emotional level with customers, even the most impressive product range or fit out won’t cut it.
AlI is good but it’s not human-to-human.
And until it is, let’s make the most of it.