The major task for most brick-and-mortar retailers has been to ensure consistency in-store traffic. The success of e-commerce demands offline retailers to provide their customers with just as convenient, and seamless in-store experience. The fact that a lot of the buying power lies in the hands of millennials and Gen-Z customers today is not the worst thing for the retailers. Despite of a large amount of online dwell time exhibited by Gen-Z customers, they are not shy of paying a visit to the offline store.
The younger generation of today are tech-savvy, but still value experiences. Despite of the online medium, they come to expect and anticipate massive things from Brick-and-Mortar stores. To be honest, shopping online is convenient and fast, but it’s never been much of an experience. Customers want their in-store shopping experience to be momentous and memorable. Retailers should pay heed to this fact and focus on improving the overall in-store experience of these customers to ensure high in-store traffic.
Omnichannel Retailing – Synchronization across mediums the key to good Customer experience
Retailers are resorting to omnichannel retailing to cater to customers across both worlds. But a mere presence on both online and offline is not enough. The online and offline integration needs to be cohesive and well synchronized for the customer experience to be up to the mark. In a nutshell, the online and offline operations need to complement each other perfectly. For example – let’s assume that an in-store customer decides to purchase something online that is not currently available in the store on the condition that the product will be delivered the same day, as the promotion suggests. The retailer should ensure that they have enough resources to ensure that the product gets delivered on time. Focusing on getting the transaction dealt with and not delivering on the promises made can have a disastrous impact on the image of the brand/retailer.
Similarly, a customer might go online to check the availability of a product in-store. Now there are high chances of him visiting the store the same day to make a purchase. It might just be the case that the product is in high demand. The retailer should make a note of both online and offline enquiries and see to it that there is enough inventory in store to suffice for all. In case there isn’t enough inventory, the customers should be informed well in advance. The last thing that one would want is a customer to come to store and return empty handed. This can potentially destroy their loyalties for life.
Thus, perfect synchronization across mediums is the key to omnichannel retailing, and to an impressive in-store experience.
The Human – Technology Balance
There is a perception among retailers across the world that technology is everything. Although it might be true in some cases, but not always. And not for everyone. Modern technologies like artificial intelligence & machine learning, virtual reality, beacon technology, etc. sure has a compelling case when it comes to enhancing the in-store experience of customers. But, the point is that it shouldn’t be all technology. One of the unique propositions of Brick-and-Mortar shopping experience is the presence of in-store associates implementing the human touch.
Besides, retailers should also keep the older contingent in mind. They are obviously tech-appreciators, but may not be the most tech-savvy like the younger ones. For them, the value of in-store guidance is priceless. It also should be understood that deploying well trained and informed associates will not just appeal to the elders, but also might weave magic on the millennials and Gen-Zers as well. The trick is to strike a perfect balance in the deployment of technology and human inside the store. This will generate consistent traffic pertaining to all age groups on a consistent basis.
Enhancing the in-Store Mobile Experience
The mobile is the most powerful today when it comes to shopping. Needless to say, it is the best platform for retailers to engage with their customers. Retailers should understand that investing in mobile apps has become a thing of the past. There are just too many apps around, and they are not helping too much anymore. Retailers should resort to location-based marketing instead by deploying beacons in their store.
This will be an ideal way to increase the store traffic. Personalization is a key aspect that contributes to the in-store experience the customer has. Location-based marketing will allow retailers to engage with customers on their mobiles in real time based on the location of the customer. The customer’s shopping experience can be personalized by providing them with highly targeted and personalized offers based on the in-store dwelling data and behavior. A personalized shopping experience will increase the chances of the customer walking in to the store once again. Enhancing the in-store mobile experience of the customer is the key.