Competing for Customers in 2020 and beyond: Bricks & Mortar + e-Commerce can be Stronger Together

Over the last 5 years, the impact of digital on physical retail in the UK has intensified. It’s no secret that high streets and town centres have been struggling to rapidly adapt at the same pace.

Consumers are opting to buy online, aswell as in physical stores, because they want convenience, choice and competitive pricing, which is often easier to compare online. Covid-19 has only exaggerated this issue and added another challenging dimension to the retail scene in the UK.

But there are causes for optimism, customers still want an omni-channel experience i.e they want the best of both worlds, with the ability to browse and enjoy a quality customer experience in-store and to have the convenience and choice that online shopping brings.

One thing’s for sure, a single channel limits your business, but combining a good physical and online presence can make it stronger.

Adapting to a New Normal

Depending on the type of business, covid-19 has given many people a crash course in utilising the online side to still make sales. And it’s the same from the customer point of view too – many customers, especially older demographics, have had to get to grips with digital technology, whether that’s ordering shopping online or speaking to family over Zoom!

But customer experience has never been more important either and there’s no telling how consumers will respond to the return to more ‘normal’ freedoms, hopefully by spring 2021. You only have to look at the queues for Primark in summer 2020 as shops began to reopen, there is an appetite to get out and about and have a tangible shopping experience.

Merging online and offline has many merits, it’s why the success of operations such as Argos and Amazon see the benefit of retaining and growing bricks and mortar stores.

Utilising your Retail Space/Showroom

There are lots of ways to create synergy between your online and offline business.

  • A click and collect options for your customers is a fantastic way to optimize a consumer footprint. You can give people the option to browse and buy online, but the convenience of picking up a product from your shop, where you can then deliver great customer service and encourage customers to browse etc.
  • Create an additional service or incentive for customers that shop in your store or click and collect – show them how to use a product or recommend others and highlight your expertise.
  • Work on wowing customers with your retail space – make it clear, fresh and modern. Your customer should be able to easily navigate your store and have a relaxing experience.
  • The data you’re capturing through online transactions can be intelligently used to benefit your retail space by making more popular items more prominent and increase stock availability.
  • Working with other ecommerce brands and allowing them to have a pop-up shop in your retail space can also be a really savvy way to collaborate and piggyback off another brand’s online presence by offering offline space. An ecommerce brand might enjoy the flexibility of using a retail space sometimes and in return they can share and promote you on their online channels.

For more advice, tips or a chat about how we can update your retail space and boost the customer experience, get in touch with our talented team.

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