How many times have you chosen to shop online instead of heading into a store?
If you do this a lot, you’re not alone. Most people choose e-commerce because it’s fast, easy, and more convenient. When put like this, you might be asking, “how can brick-and-mortar stores survive?”
Despite the ease and efficiency of e-commerce, brick-and-mortar businesses still have plenty of fans. Though they are still thriving, there is undeniable pressure for brick-and-mortar businesses to compete with e-commerce.
If you want your brick-and-mortar business to be a contender, we’ve got you covered.
Help your brick-and-mortar business survive with these competitive tips
Care about your customers
We try to do everything so quickly that it’s easy to forget about people in the process. This is especially true when shopping online. Being a brick-and-mortar business that really cares about its customers and shows it is refreshing for both parties and helps build strong relationships and trust.
Show you customers you care about their needs as well as their wants. Do this by providing quick but focused service, offering discounts and promotions that make their lives easier, and doing what you can to offer immediate satisfaction.
When your customers know they can walk out with a product in hand, get a delivery promotion (a discount, same-day delivery option, or shipping fee waiver), or get information they can’t find online, it enhances their overall shopping experience.
In short, use the in-person experience of a brick-and-mortar store to your advantage!
Ask the right questions
Asking the right questions is crucial. Online conversations usually leave something to be desired because a lot can be missed when people aren’t talking face-to-face. You want to make sure your customers feel listened to, making it a personal experience.
Think of yourself as a personal shopper. Help find items that match their needs, wants, and budget. You can even consider providing a questionnaire to help them pinpoint their needs, making their shopping experience more streamlined.
Offer payment variations
Payment options are a dream come true. Sometimes your customers need an item now, but their bank account isn’t quite ready for the purchase. It’s easy for brick-and-mortar businesses to help customers in this spot out with payment variations to stay competitive with ecommerce sellers.
Layaway options, split payments, and payment schedules provide payment flexibility and allow shoppers to take their items home same-day. You can also provide coupon options that give your customers a nice discount and entice them to keep shopping with you.
What’s more, you can use your online presence to bring people to your brick-and-mortar location. Some online stores have “spin the wheel” deals where customers can click and get 5, 10, 15, or 20% off, or a BOGO (free or half off) option. Make whatever they win redeemable only in store to bring more people in.
Open up your inventory
Open up your inventory and work with your vendors to see if you can get lower costs on goods for your customers. Even if shopping online means your customers don’t have to put on pants or leave the couch, nothing trumps lower prices.
A great way to do this is by allowing independent artists like musicians at record stores, writers at bookstores, or ceramicists at home goods boutiques to be featured in your inventory. Simply share commission and give your shoppers a unique experience where they can buy goods they won’t find anywhere else.
These tips on keeping brick-and-mortar businesses competitive will help your business thrive in our digital world. While e-commerce comes with many advantages, nothing beats the helpful, human experience shoppers get in-store.