How to keep customers tethered to the store

The nearly $2 trillion global apparel/footwear industry is not only the largest consumer vertical, it’s also the fastest growing digital consumer vertical at 19.7 percent CAGR. By contrast, brick and mortar store sales remain relatively flat at 1.1 percent CAGR. Even though well over 80 percent of sales still happen in store, by 2022 we can expect 41 percent of in-store sales to be web influenced, according to Forrester.

So, the majority of consumers are consulting digital content to influence their purchases before, during and after visiting stores. They’re looking for product information, inspiration and price comparisons. If a brick and mortar retailer doesn’t proactively engage their consumers in store digitally, then they’re leaving the door open for competitors to insert themselves into the customer journey instead.

Savvy retailers must meld physical and digital strategies that are personal and practical. Unique in-store environments, personalized content and interactive technology are all tenets of a forward-thinking, proactive physical-digital sales strategy and can serve as the bridge to fulfilling, lucrative shopping experiences that yield results greater than the sum of their parts. This is all in an effort to meet consumers’ demand for a cohesive shopping experience.

Want to optimize your omnichannel strategy and maximize opportunities across all channels? Here’s how:

Personalization = purchases

Say goodbye to “stack ’em high and watch ’em fly.” Less is more when it comes to the ideal number of choices for your shoppers. Giving your customers curated, highly-relevant options that cater to their specific wants and needs shows that you “get” them – and makes it easier for them to move forward with a meaningful purchase over a surfeit of maybes or not-quites.

Using mobile technology in store is a prime way to move from an antiquated merchant-driven approach to one that prioritizes and capitalizes upon customer data. When you personalize your shopping experience, you boost customer loyalty — leading to shoppers being 44 percent more likely to become repeat buyers. Even more, personalization can drive up average order size, with 40 percent of shoppers spending more money than planned because of a shopping experience that’s unique to them.

Tech sells

Consumers are tied to their technology — they use and trust it every day. When you interact with them at the immediate level, you increase consumer confidence, influence their purchasing patterns and improve the likelihood of repeat business.

According to Think with Google, “82 percent of smartphone users say they consult their phones on purchases they’re about to make in a store. They get ideas, look up information, and make decisions.” Take advantage of this by integrating technology into your stores — think “smart” fitting rooms that give suggestions and receive feedback, allowing customers to experiment, connect with social networks for advice and facilitate communication with sales associates – all enriching the customer experience while driving higher units per transaction and lower return rates.

From encouraging in-store visits to on-the-spot purchase personalization to leveraging consumer technology — you can put these tactics together to form a successful omnichannel strategy in today’s multifaceted retail landscape.

All about experience

The symbiotic cycle of showrooming (in-person input that influences online sales) and webrooming (digital input that influences in-person sales) gives your customers a shopping experience that meets them where they are, and builds confidence toward making a purchase. But first, you need to get customers through the door and capture their attention.

Take Urban Outfitters, for example, where shoppers are invited to sip cocktails while browsing; wander around as they wait for a table at the onsite restaurant, and discover new products via pop-up shops at the company’s recently transformed five-story Brooklyn location — which they’ve smartly rebranded as a “multi-use lifestyle destination.”

Creating unique, immersive in-store experiences drives traffic to combat dips in brick-and-mortar sales. Service-based amenities such as in-store massages or treatments, live music or food and drink bring a sensorial element that simply can’t be replicated online. In addition to driving traffic to physical locations, add-ons and events create buzz and increase sales, encouraging deeper customer interaction, and in turn, more profitable relationships — in-store and online.


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