E-commerce has been gaining ground in recent years, driven by the increased internet penetration and mobile usage worldwide. It has broken physical boundaries and even made products from other countries more accessible to local customers. However, this does not mean that e-commerce will be the only way to go in the future.
There are still many things that physical, brick and mortar stores can offer that online stores can’t. For example, a physical store allows customers to experience the product or service first hand before making the payment, thus giving them a sense of security that they have made the correct purchase. There are also staff who can assist them and answer their questions immediately, plus there are no shipping fees to be paid.
Brick and mortar stores have to then play to their strengths in order to win in the market. Of course, the competition is still tough even among physical stores, which is why business owners need to stay on top of the game. Here, we list 5 ways that will help you become more competitive.
1. Invest In Your Shop Front
When customers enter a store, they already have certain expectations even if it is their first visit. This is because customers start to form their opinion about the business by just looking at the display window. A well-designed shopfront can help the business by catching the attention of the customers, sharing key information about what you have to offer, then pulling them inside as they get interested to find out more.
Arrange the products by the window in a way that highlights their best features, but do not overpower the display. Place just the right amount of products at the right angle. Also, ensure that the area is well lit, and remove any obstructions that may block your window from the customers’ view.
2. Prioritize Friendly Customer-First Service
Personal touch is one major advantage of brick and mortar stores over e-commerce. In fact, as much as 66% of customers say that they would willingly spend more in a store that gives them a satisfying shopping experience. However, not all businesses are able to take advantage of this.
Turn your store into an ideal shopping destination by providing top-notch customer service, and the key to this is by addressing the customers’ pain points. To achieve this, you have to know what they actually go through. So put yourself in their shoes and picture yourself shopping inside the store. Minor details such as parking space, store entrance, and ambiance all contribute to the total customer experience.
The staff inside the store are also crucial. They represent your brand and must show excellent understanding of both the product and the customer. Their attitude and presence should be able to make the customers comfortable enough to make them want to approach and strike a conversation.
3. Create a Multi-Sensory Experience
A study conducted in Sweden has shown positive effects of in-store multi-sensory engagement in customer behavior. The study revealed that customers tend to spend more time inside the store and are more likely to make a purchase if the store is able to captivate them not just visually, but with their other senses as well.
Aside from making your product displays look more attractive, you can add visual cues in the store to encourage the customer towards making a purchase decision. Visual cues such as color accents and point of purchase materials reinforce the customers’ initial impression about the business.
The choice of music, scents, and texture are also critical. It cannot be just randomly put together. Everything in the store has to be congruent with the brand identity and will give the customer an integrated shopping experience.
4. Sell (And Give Away) Branded & Promotional Products
Advertising is not limited to the internet or traditional media. You can also advertise your business through promotional products that carry your logo and contain relevant information about you. There are more than a hundred thousand different materials that you can use for this purpose, from wearable items to consumable ones.
Pick an item that is related to your business and represents your brand well, because this is also an extension of your brand identity and will influence the customers’ impression of you. Depending on your objective and the type of item you are going to use, you can simply place your logo on the item to aid in brand recall, or if space allows, you can include your tagline, store location, or special offers.
5. Create a Rewards Program
Give the customers a reason to keep coming back to your store by monitoring their purchases and rewarding them for it. This sets a target for them to reach, and makes them feel recognized for their contribution to the business, which then enhances their brand loyalty.
A rewards program can be in the form of points accumulation based on purchase value or purchase frequency. It can also be a community based activity where you provide a space for loyal customers to interact, share ideas, and converse with the brand. Whatever style of rewards program that you use, it still has to be aligned with the brand’s core values and identity.