Tips For Building Cohesion Between Your Physical and Digital Stores
Everyone wants to develop a successful business. Using the right tactics is an important part of improving a firm. In the modern world, businesses have a plethora of opportunities to expand and develop sales using the internet.
The best companies, however, take advantage of both eCommerce and brick and mortar (B&M) stores.
How Consumers Prefer to Shop
To reach the maximum number of customers, a business has to be accessible. For some consumers, accessible means digitally available. For others, it means walking into a store and speaking with someone directly. Some people believe that in-person shopping is becoming a thing of the past, but that’s not quite the truth.
Studies show that online retail is actually not as popular as we might think. In fact, only a relatively small group of people shop mainly online. Twenty seven percent of consumers in the United States reported shopping on the internet at least once per week.
Another 68 percent of respondents reported browsing in-store but buying the item online. Surprisingly, 73 percent of the shoppers did the opposite – they researched items from their computer, then purchased them at a brick and mortar location.
Each shopping method has its drawbacks. Visiting a brick and mortar location means the consumer will have their products immediately (if they’re in stock). Buying in-person also means the customer avoids any shipping fees. On the other hand, shopping online tends to provide a larger selection, like different sizes and colors of the same item.
Many companies find the best way to be successful across the board is by building synergy between the two platforms. Cohesion, flexibility, and reliability work together to draw in new customers and re-inspire previous patrons.
Methods to Create or Improve Cohesion Between Platforms
With synergy in mind, there are several things businesses can do to build their online presence and B&M popularity. They range in complexity, but each method helps synchronize and improve the platforms quickly.
Offering Platform-Specific Purchases
Entrepreneurs will want both their online and brick and mortar business to do well, but some products (or services) simply fare better through one or the other.
For example, a bakery owner will obviously sell fresh bread in person – it’s precisely the type of purchase that is designed for instant pickup. They have the option to sell loaves online as well, but after packing and shipping the product, the consumer will probably see a marked decline in quality. In this instance, the product should be sold through B&M only.
The same bakery might offer a special flour blend for trying recipes at home. Customers may pick it up occasionally, but it’s likely that most of them would rather buy the bread that has already been prepared. On the other hand, buying the flour online might be the only way that shoppers from far away can experience the bakery. This example highlights the reason some items are simply better offered online.
Understanding your consumer base is crucial. Business owners must carefully consider which audience each of their products targets, and knowing your audience is part of that. Planning how each product or service should be marketed depends on that client research. Among other things, you can base your marketing strategy on how each sells better – online or in-person.
Taking Advantage of Online Point of Sale Systems
When businesses combine ecommerce and brick and mortar, they often run into problems organizing inventory. If the systems aren’t automatically synced, the company could list things online that aren’t actually in stock.
Having multiple purchase points also makes it more difficult to manage client information. The easiest way to solve these issues is by installing or upgrading the online point of sale (POS) system. Modern versions are able to handle inventory, accounting, and customer information while providing a pleasant experience for the shopper.
Adequate point of sale systems provide benefits for employees as well. Workers can more easily clock in or out, track hours, and keep an eye on invoices. Many systems can be programmed to show efficiency or other measures of performance, too.
This is in addition to making the lives of stocking employees much easier. When everything is synced online, they can instantly compare product quantities and options.
Purchasing and installing a point of sale system is actually fairly easy, but learning how to navigate the features can take time and practice. POS providers will generally work alongside the business owner to ensure the system is functioning and that they can operate it without issue.
Focusing on Layouts – both In-Person and Online
The layout of a business – both online and in-person – matters more than you might think. The placement of your displays or the navigation of a site can influence customers’ experience before they even have time to truly evaluate your items or services. Planning ahead allows a business owner to maximize consumer comfort and strengthen both platforms.
Many people are in such a hurry to have an online platform that they don’t take the time to work through proper content and navigation, but it’s important not rush the creation of a website.
The use of software such as EverWeb can help businesses design every aspect of the site. The application uses a drag and drop feature to place content, images, and navigation menus, making things much easier and more aesthetically pleasing all at once.
When shopping online, customers like movements that are instinctive, such as swiping across the screen. They want relevant content and menus that make sense. It would be a poor idea, for example, to place your product return policy under an “About” tab, instead of “Contact Us”.
Likewise, the same flow should be evident in your brick and mortar store. It’s a great idea to organize products the same way that they are online, too, that way shoppers from one platform will be inherently more comfortable with the other.
Encouraging Online Visits While In-Store and Vice Versa
Companies all across the nation are creating online incentives for consumers to visit their brick and mortar stores, as well as offering advantages to in-store customers who may visit the business’s website. One way to streamline this idea is by ensuring your business is optimized for mobile.
Nearly 70 percent of adults have smartphones that they use every day. Businesses that offer special incentives for their mobile patrons in the form of coupons and other offers are reaping the benefits.
This tactic works well because it is simple. Through emails, texts, or geo-tracking alerts, consumers are offered discounts or given special information on sales. They’re encouraged to visit the brick and mortar location and can redeem the voucher there instead of just online.
In many cases, shoppers may have had no intention of visiting the business, but they did so because of the special offer. This technique can be used to encourage new online visitors, too. Posters and announcements can instruct consumers to sign up for text alerts or visit the company’s website.
In exchange for their enrollment, they’re usually offered a discount or other promotion. Pushing for greater integration is easier in today’s culture because so many companies use this approach.
Synergy is very important. It’s even arguable that most modern businesses can’t survive at all without both platforms. Making smart moves with equipment, organization, and the use of offers can help bring virtual and real worlds closer together for a company.