Consumers no longer see a distinction between online and offline shopping.
Whether it’s searching on a mobile phone, browsing main street shops, or hanging out at the mall — it’s all shopping. To adapt to the competitive new reality, smart retailers are embracing the new reality of using digital to extend to their storefronts.
- Educate shoppers as much as you did with your salespeople.
Then, people came into stores with little to no knowledge and relied on a salesperson to advise them on what to buy.
Now, shoppers have become accustomed to doing their own research to get the maximum value out of every dollar they spend, and to feel secure about the purchases they’re making. With this power shift comes a great opportunity for retailers; those that use tools and insights from the web have the opportunity to close the gap between the smart online consumer and the offline retailer, and to stand out in a competitive marketplace. Every moment in a consumer’s decision journey matters. To win these moments, smart retailers need to be there when inspiration strikes consumers, and as they start researching purchases online.
- Use Loyalty Programs to gather customer information, deliver new product information, and to reach your customer base.
In our constantly connected world, a device is just a proxy for what really matters — getting to know your customers. It can help retailers deliver relevant suggestions. The right message at the right moment is the next level in customer service — it can quickly and easily turn intent into action.
People are constantly looking for product information, deals, local availability, and local discounts online — and retailers who aren’t there to supply the right information when people raise their virtual hand will lose out.
- Mobile devices drive foot traffic to stores.
As the lines blur between online and offline, innovative retailers are integrating mobile into their brick-and-mortar store experience. When shoppers search for a store name or category, they expect to see a map with directions, a phone number that they can easily click-to-call, or special offers.
The search element of shopping doesn’t end once the customer walks into a store. Mobile can be a map, a shopping list, a personal shopper, a salesperson, and a product finder all at once.
- Products can jump off the screen.
The internet was fine for researching, but there was no replacement for holding, feeling, inspecting a physical product on a store shelf or showroom floor.
Each digital stride opens exciting opportunities to close the gap between an on-screen image and that experience of holding a product in a store. When retailers showcase products online in a unique way, they create opportunities for customers to interact with products on an emotional level. When consumers’ emotions are activated, their desire to buy is sparked. We are only beginning to see the possibilities.