Brick and Mortar is Hitting Back: 6 Unique Strategies Used to Stay Relevant
Why did Amazon decide to buy hundreds of brick and mortar stores if brick and mortar is dead? Headlines have all signaled brick and mortar’s doom as big box stores and brand names that generations have come to know have shut down over the last year.
Perhaps it is because despite raking in nearly $400 billion dollars just two years ago, online sales only accounted for 12% of all retail sales. By far, the majority (90%) of retail sales happen at physical stores.
Still, e-commerce is continuing to gain on brick and mortar, increasing sales by more than 15% year-over-year and other online players are following Amazon’s lead into brick and mortar. Here are 6 ways traditional brick and mortar can keep up:
#1: Play Up Your Convenience
Online retailers can do a lot of things. The selection is practically limitless. So instead of trying to compete by trying to match the amount of choices you can offer, play up the thing you can do that online retailers, so far, cannot – convenience.
The fastest consumers can get products from online retailers – despite being able to order anything online – is at least two days. When you’re local, same day deliveries are easier. You already have local branding, simply add a delivery app and hire a local 3PL to assist with deliveries.
#2: Personalize Excellent Customer Service
Online retailers learn a lot about their customers based on the products that they browse and the things that they order. It is easy for them to aggregate those numbers through algorithms online. New technology makes the same type of personalized data collection and analysis possible for brick and mortar.
Moreover, in person, brick and mortar can offer uniquely personalized services that online operators cannot – like a personal shopper. Vendhq uses the example of a shoe store that offers free fittings and foot measurements to customers. That store can then build a customer profile that ensures they have a shoe that fits that customer specifically – earning repeat business and customer loyalty.
#3: Highlight Local Products, Vendors, and Grocers
Young consumers like to support locally sourced goods and products, especially produce. Grocers and retailers alike have an advantage being local to cross-promote with local businesses to offer discounts on local products. Creating apps and branded loyalty cards that offer unique rewards like discounts at a local farmers’ market event will further increase brand loyalty and awareness in a way online retailers can’t.
#4: Copy Easy Online Payment Options
Online shoppers can often pay using PayPal or other cashless payment apps. Brick and mortar has been slow to catch on, largely still relying on cash and credit card transactions only using POS systems. Employing more flexible payment options including payment plans and cashless payment apps will help brick and mortar stores compete with online.
#5: Build Your Own Online Presence
Brick and mortar stores have been slow to adopt an online presence, ceding that territory to online retailers. In order to stay competitive in both spaces as online starts to enter the physical space, brick and mortar stores should be sure to also have a website that allows customers to access coupons, shop online and pickup in store (BOPIS), or request a delivery. Remember to include a fully functional mobile app.
#6: Make Your Store a Destination Location
Finally, brick and mortar stores that are transforming the entire shopping experience are experimenting with innovative new ways for customers to interact with their stores. Some are offering luxury amenities for shoppers at boutiques for instance while others are experimenting with temporary pop-up stores that last just a few weeks and then disappear to attract buzz and rush sales.