These days, we often hear of major retailers (such as House of Fraser and Debenhams ) falling victim to the harsh reality of shifts in consumer behaviour. Many shoppers are now exploring new and different ways to purchase goods and services – mainly through the online space.
I’m the manager of Kitchen Economy – a long-established white goods store located in Roath, Cardiff – and like most businesses, we have had to adapt to the public’s increasing preference for online shopping. We operate in the offline space through our brick-and-mortar (B&M) store, but we also operate successfully in the online space through our highly-developed ecommerce platform.
But just because we have been able to adapt to the increasing habits of online shopping, it doesn’t automatically result in success. Online sales are not always enough to keep your offline operations profitable. You need to strike a balance between the two, and that is what we have done fairly successfully up to this point in time.
So, for any other businesses who find themselves in a similar position – but who may not be experiencing quite the same results as we are at Kitchen Economy – here are some tips on how to run a brick-and-mortar store in the age of online shopping.
Dive into The World Of Ecommerce
The quicker that businesses face the fact that online sales are increasing year-on-year, and take the plunge to be a part of it, the more chance they have of surviving. Sure, brick-and-mortar stores still hold power when it comes to economic value, but as time goes on this power will dwindle more and more and start to lose traction. To fight against this, B&M stores need to enter the battlefield of ecommerce. Offering customers, whether they are loyal or potential, a different means to consume your goods or services is now a must, especially for smaller, location-based businesses. Providing customers with a means to shop online anywhere at any time is a strategy that cannot be overlooked.
One great way that smaller businesses can utilise the power of online shopping is through drop shipping. Here, your business does not have to hold stock of the items you are selling online, instead, you pass on the shipping details of the customer to the manufacturer, wholesaler or another retailer, who then ships the product directly to the customer. The frustrations of a physical location start to evaporate when you supplement your offline operations with the extensive potential of the Internet.
Provide Value For Your Customers
The main reason why consumers choose to shop online is all down to the value that it brings. The value of convenience.
People’s lives are getting busier and busier, with less time to do the things that they like, such as shopping. So, when this is made easier through online shopping, the value of convenience is too good to turn down.
Value, however, isn’t exclusive to online shopping. How B&M stores can stay relevant during the age of online shopping is to provide their type of value. This can be done in several ways, such as offering customers unique experiences that they wouldn’t get when shopping online. Examples could include offering in-store exclusives, invitations to engaging events or customer perks.
Offer Local Pickup
One way that you can get customers to buy your products online is through local pickup. The ability to pay for a product and pick it up from a nearby location helps around 44% of customers make a final purchasing decision. This is doubly important as it provides a fantastic way to get customers through the door and the opportunity to upsell more of your products – especially if they complement the items they’ve already purchased. When done in the right way, this method can turn a new customer into a loyal one and can guarantee a person’s custom for a lifetime.
Offer Better Deals Offline
One way to provide value to your customers is to offer in-store exclusives or better deals than you do online. This could be a double-edged sword but has a massive potential to drive increased traffic to your brick-and-mortar store and create more meaningful engagements with your customers. People often feel as if they can find better deals online, resulting in them bypassing a store visit.
By giving your customers an incentive to make the trip to your store can result in increased footfall. One way that you can offer better offline deals is to price-match your online deals or your competitor’s prices. This will go a long way in keeping price-sensitive customers from shopping elsewhere. If they know that they can count on getting the best possible price from you, this will give them the confidence to not look anywhere else and again, creating that all-important brand loyalty that your B&M store needs to survive.
These are just some of how you can successfully run your brick-and-mortar store in the age of online shopping. Of course, just like everything, these things take time and practice to get right. Over the years, Kitchen Economy have actioned a number of these strategies, alongside synching our online efforts with our offline efforts and have experienced some tremendous results.
Creating a consistent and helpful environment for your customers is key and goes a long way in combating the growing ecommerce trend.
Blog by Rhodri Howells from Kitchen Economy, https://www.kitchen-economy.co.uk/