How to Successfully Integrate the Online-to-Offline Experience
As a retailer it’s important to realize that showrooming is not going to go away. So, instead of packing your bags and heading out of town for the virtual world, focus on other ways that you can turn your retail store into a place that shoppers want to experience as well as make purchases in. Here’s how to do it.
Showrooming is here to stay. Consumers are going to compare prices, and they’re going to get the best deal they can and the most perceived value possible out of every purchase they make.
Find a way to make the in-store shopping experience have fewer lines. Apple has done a great job with this by offering in-store visitors a wonderful experience with trained staff and no lines, since purchases can be made from any location in the store with a point-of-sale system that each sales person has on their iPad.
Provide Top-Notch Customer Service
Nothing can beat excellent care and customer service. Give your sales people and floor personnel the power to make each customer feel special and service their needs. Sales people also should be trained very carefully to ensure product knowledge is above average.
Focus on the Experience
People go to stores for the experience of touching the product, using the product and seeing it in action. Ensure that you have plenty of working displays that your store visitors can touch and feel. Offer QR Codes and opportunities for your customers to win prizes and discounts.
Offer Online Ordering
Sometimes people prefer to shop in the comfort of their home, or even in their car. Give them the option of ordering online by offering special deals and incentives for online shopping. If you have access to items that aren’t in your store, offer a computer terminal so that shoppers can order the item or be put on a wait list for a rain check for sale items.
Free In-Store Delivery and Pickup
During the shopping process online you can offer free in-store delivery and curbside pickup. Sears does a great job with this. You can order anything online and even put it on layaway. Then once the item is paid for, you simply go curbside, give your receipt or code to the sales person and they bring out your delivery and pack your vehicle.
Offer Free Home Delivery for Larger Items
Sometimes people do not want to worry about how they will get larger purchases to their home. Many stores make a huge mistake by charging a lot of money for delivery even when the locations are close to the store, and then miss out on sales. Keep in mind that places like Overstock offer free or very low-cost delivery even for the largest items. If you can offer free delivery for local purchases, you’re more likely to make the sale.
Become a Destination of Choice
Make the experience part of the reason shoppers come to your store. Offer an art show, street performers, a band, food, and basically offer a party. How about free Wi-Fi, a lounge area, and coffee? A family may have one person who loves shopping in person but doesn’t want to go alone, bringing along other family members who would love to sit and hang out in your lounge. This is an excellent way to increase in-store shopping and become a destination.
Finally, find a way to get shoppers to sign up for your email list. If you can send them specials and notices of sales coming up with discounts, you’ll be more likely to get more in-store shoppers. Kohl’s does a really good job of this with their active email list and mailers, offering huge discounts to Kohl’s credit card holders for coming into the store.