Are retailers bridging the gap between the online and in-store shopping experience to the benefit of their customers? When it comes to connecting physical and digital shopping experiences in the retail space, it’s evident that some retailers are doing it better than others.
With the rapid proliferation of e-commerce, it’s no surprise that retailers are struggling to maintain foot-traffic and compete with online shopping. According to the US Census Bureau, online retail sales for the first quarter of 2016 totaled roughly $86 billion. And while online shopping offers unparalleled convenience, a plethora of products, and a never-ending platform for impulse shopping, consumers continue to seek out physical stores where they can interact with associates and merchandise. Simply put, nothing beats the instant gratification of being able to use a product minutes after making a purchase.
The most successful retailers leverage the online and in-store shopping experiences, aligning them seamlessly to provide a memorable customer experience. Rather than disrupting the flow of business, retailers must adopt a blended approach in an effort to deliver a more integrated shopping experience. Here are some key questions to ask:
- Do your online and physical stores match? It may sound basic, but you’d be surprised how many retailers don’t ensure branding and messaging are consistent across both channels for a blended customer experience. The same logos, messaging, product offerings, prices, promotions, themes, and featured products should be in both spaces to deliver a consistent look and feel.
- Are you integrating digital technologies into your stores? Shoppers frequently research products while shopping in-store, relying on digital elements to guide their overall experience. Delivering a high-tech experience can be costly, but a reasonable effort should be made to bring digital and online components into the brick-and-mortar space. Consumers want information at their fingertips, whether it’s via lock screen, in-store digital kiosks, or mobile-compatible websites. Considering that Millennial shoppers are early adopters of technology in the retail space, it’s important to create a lasting impression by leveraging the latest digital technologies.
- Are you delivering a similar shopping experience in both places? It’s no secret that the longer people stay in the store, the more money they spend. Your store must cater to the needs of your customers while remaining easy to navigate, and your website should be as user friendly as possible, Consistency in both places can encourage customers to continue spending and return often.
- Are you remembering the importance of brand loyalty? Focusing so much attention on your online environment that you neglect your physical stores can be detrimental to your brand. Keep in mind the influence and reach of brand loyalists—you can’t afford not to have all of your locations (online and physical) looking their best.
Connecting online and in-store shopping experiences can be accomplished with relative ease, provided the brick-and-mortar side of the business isn’t afraid to harness the power of technology to elevate the customer experience to the next level.
The most successful retailers leverage the online and in-store shopping experiences, aligning them seamlessly to provide a memorable customer experience.