Retailers, today, need to create experiential and immersive experiences for their shoppers whether offline or online.
With the drastic shift towards online shopping in the past two years, it has become essential for brick and mortar stores to redefine their business model based on modern consumer demands.
The continual growth of ecommerce and convenience of online shopping combined with offline shopping can ensure a true omnichannel experience for customers.
To power this, brick and mortar stores should be connected at every customer touchpoint.
When we studied the connection between online and brick-and-mortar stores, there are a lot of supporting facts that benefit a business with an online presence:
- A study that included 46,000 shoppers revealed that “only 7% were online-only shoppers and 20% were store-only shoppers.
- Omnichannel customers showed more value than their counterparts. Their spending was 4% at stores and 10% more on websites and mobile apps.
- It gets better for DTC online brands, as omnichannel customers spent 13% more at physical outlets than store-only shoppers.
- Also, omnichannel customers displayed higher customer loyalty, a whopping 23% more than a single channel customer.
Hence, an omnichannel presence for primarily brick-and-mortar brands could be a massive enabler towards improving sales and customer loyalty.
In an omnichannel environment, customers use multiple channels to shop during their retail journey and retail locations that include apps, websites, chat apps, and more.
The best way for a good customer experience is to ensure that their interaction across all touchpoints is consistent.
Today we will look into the top ways to leverage omnichannel platforms to drive brick and mortar store sales.
1. Exposing your Local Inventory Digitally
With Omnichannel platforms such as Vizury, retail brands with brick and mortar stores can create digital storefronts on various digital channels such as web, mobile, and popular chat apps.
Technological advancements have now allowed retailers to offer excellent in-store experiences.
For instance, Sephora, a leading beauty brand has merged their brick and mortar stores to digital technology to sensationalize their customer’s experience.
They launched the “Beauty Gag” where shoppers can add products while in-store and create wish lists. In addition to this, users can also save products and purchase later or get product recommendations based on previous searches.
This has allowed Sephora to connect its online shoppers with its retail stores. Shoppers can access their wish lists and recommendations from the comfort of their phones and purchase products whenever they want.
Finding modern ways to update your physical store can give your customers an easier buying experience.
You can integrate digital tech tools with your local inventory and connect it with your storefront app or website.
It also allows your customers to check out your product catalogs, add products to the cart, check product availability, and more via their preferred digital channel before they even step into the store.
Your potential customers can also check out your product, book a store appointment, reserve it or order it online and pick it up at the store if your brand is equipped with such technology.
2. Providing fulfillment options
Give your customers the option to pick up their products or return them at their nearby store.
This will not save your brand shipping costs but also give your customer the convenience of having the product whenever they want.
Buy Online, Pick-Up In-Store(BOPIS) is one of the unique examples of omnichannel customer engagement.
It can seamlessly connect your digital shoppers to your brick-and-mortar stores.
Brands can offer customers the option to make online purchases and collect them from a nearby store.
This is a win-win strategy for both the brand and the customer as —
- The customer doesn’t need to pay for shipping.
- The product is readily available in hours rather than days
- Store visits and engagement improve as customers visit the store to collect their order
- Average order value and revenue generated from each store increases
By connecting your digital shoppers at every touchpoint, your brand will be exposed to more potential customers and demographics.
Read also Buy Online, Pick-up In Store.
3. Taking the In-Store Experience virtual
Logistics and availability aside, another major challenge faced by retailers with brick and mortar stores is maintaining that store experience alive in a virtual setting.
Before the pandemic, many retailers would host flash sales, in-store events, and workshops to encourage customers and foster specific experiences that define their store experiences.
For example, Apple is known for its store seminars and workshops. Aimed at enabling creators and customers to utilize their Apple devices in the best way possible to create some of the most spectacular works of art, or take marvelous photographs, create new iOS and Mac apps, and more.
This is the space where Omnichannel marketing could be beneficial for innovative brands looking to virtualize store experiences.
For example, one of the world’s leading watch brands has incorporated virtual clienteling via WhatsApp using omnichannel platforms to enable virtual clienteling in their nearby store.
This helps the customers get a look and feel for the product in real life before deciding to purchase a product.
4. Connecting Experts with Consumers
One reason to visit brick and mortar stores has been meeting the store experts to guide us to buy the products best suited for our requirements and use-case.
On the other hand, while shopping online, customers rely on 3rd party sources to make an informed decision.
For instance, if I am interested in buying a new MacBook — I have three options to choose from — a Macbook Air, a 13-inch MacBook Pro, or a 16-inch MacBook Pro. We need to factor in what matters more, whether it is long battery life, tons of storage space, fast graphical performance, and more.
And so begins the research — endless reading and asking on discussion forums, watching YouTube videos, asking your friends and colleagues.
Whereas if I can visit a nearby Apple Store, someone at their Genius Bar can help me decide in a matter of minutes.
With Omnichannel marketing, we can stitch this experience together in a digital space. Omnichannel marketing allows brands to utilize WhatsApp, Messenger, email, and other conversational media to directly connect customers with product experts.
So the next time you have a customer in a dilemma, you can just send them a push notification for a virtual 1:1 guidance session or an email to book a shopping session with an expert.
5. Putting the Product in Customers’ Hand Faster
Isn’t it annoying to see that the product you ordered will take five days to arrive at your home when you buy it online?
Buyers expect convenience over everything. Thankfully by integrating omnichannel retail with brick-and-mortar stores, leading brands have started offering customers the option to get their products delivered within a short span of time.
With omnichannel integrations leading brands can —
- Offer convenient services such as try and buy during delivery.
- Offer customers the option to get the product delivered from their nearest store rather than wait for days to get it delivered.
- Offer virtual product trials and in-store experiences from the comfort of your couch.
These options are easy to implement.
All a business requires is an online presence, like a website, a mobile app, or even a chat-based business account to enable their customers to interact with them via online channels.
Connecting Brick and Mortar stores with digital shoppers
Although brick-and-mortar stores have suffered a major setback in the past two years, brands that have embraced connecting their online and offline shopping have been able to keep it afloat.
But what’s worth mentioning is that not all customers want to just shop online.
Today, modern consumers are looking for experiences that bridge both worlds, a mix of online and offline retail. Thus, retailers need to focus on converging online and offline activities into a single approach to amplify reach and sales.