Consumers are more and more comfortable with shopping online. Ecommerce is growing rapidly. Bricks and mortar store operators are missing out on future proofing their business if they are not moving online.
However, traditional brick-and-mortar stores are re-igniting too.
As more and more customers move online, the in-store experience is becoming more and more important as a way to grab and maintain buyer attention. You need customers to want to visit the shop, just as much as they want to enjoy the convenience of shopping at home in their pyjamas.
As a business owner, you may be asking yourself should I be moving online?
Well, the answer is simple.
But, don’t be fooled, the challenge isn’t confined to ecommerce.
The real challenge lives in how to create ‘WOW’ moments in creating a seamless shopping experience between online and offline interactions.
Taking an integrated approach
Do not think of your online and offline interactions as two distinct streams. You need to take an integrated approach because,
Online shopping increases each year.
The customer journey is changing. Customers don’t just shop in one place or the other: they use a mixture of both (trying something on in store, buying it online) to make their decisions.
Technology is a game changer and is continually growing.
Customers expect the same treatment and interaction with your brand no matter where you are.
When did you last take stock of how your brand presents itself through your online presence, visual merchandising, social media and customer service? Is it consistent?
Reaping the benefits
Creating a more seamless customer experience brings huge benefit to your business.
Touch your customers in more ways and reach a large volume of potential customers, no matter what the platform.
Get the most out of your marketing budget.
Generate leads online for your bricks and mortar stores, and offline for your e-commerce platform.
So...how do I do it?
When building your e-commerce or in store environment, consider how you translate a sensory experience across both stores.
Sensory activities normally encourage us to play, create/design, investigate and navigate/search. Of course, we mean using as many senses as we can: sight, sound, touch, taste, smell (we may need Willy Wonka to get the last two to work online!).
One such experience is the customer journey through a store, a physical shop has been merchandised and laid out in a particular way to influence how you move around the store. What you see, can touch, hear, and sometimes taste and smell are strategically planned to give you an experience.
So, how do I go about bring the in-store shopper experience to the online presence?
Your email campaigns as your window display. What products or promotions will you offer to pull people through your doors?
Your homepage or other landing pages as your visual merchandising tools. What will you show off in each section, do you cetegorise how people shop, how are like items displayed in relation to each other?
In a store, you experience customer service through the shop assistant helping you, in an online environment, consider how you could take people through certain features (maybe use video), or how you can link to other recommended products or other things people have bought.
Did you know you are more likely to buy something if you touch it? Create the same experience online via well written product descriptions, great photos of your stock, video, and places for buyers to leave reviews and comments. Some clothing sites do this really well, asking for reviews with predetermined fields like rankings on ‘true to size’, ‘garment quality’ and ‘true to colour’.
Close the sale! What can you do in the store at the checkout, or online, to get that customer back into the sales funnel...pretty much anything to get their email address!
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