Brick and Mortar Businesses That Can Thrive Online
When Walmart opened its first store in 1962, they never imagined they would have an online presence. Fast forward to today, and they’re now the third largest online store in the world behind Amazon and E-bay.
So, why did Walmart make the transition to an online store? Certainly, that is not what they had planned when they first opened their doors decades ago.
Well, it all has to do with consumers. Consumers have shifted towards an online shopping experience. As Amazon continues to grow, consumers (of all ages) realize that they don’t need to get in their car and drive to the store. Now, they know they can stay in the comfort of their home and have the same item shipped to their doorstep within 48 hours or less.
Ecommerce powerhouses like Amazon, have proved that physical locations are optional for businesses. And to be quite frank, this is great for both consumers and business owners. With a completely online shop, you ditch the costs of rent, insurance, and other costs that come with a physical location. Ultimately, making you more profitable (that is if done correctly.)
The Future of Brick and Mortar Stores
It seems as though every time we turn on the news, we hear of a large business going bankrupt or going out of business. Take Macy’s or Sears, for instance. At the start of the century, they conquered all retail stores, and now they are victims of the retail apocalypse. Is there a future for brick and mortar businesses?
Walmart remains the world's largest brick and mortar retailer. But at the same time, it’s the world’s third online store. So, what’s the difference between Walmart- the world’s largest retailer and the other large retailers that are going out of business?
It's all about adaptation. Walmart has been able to quickly adapt and conquer the eCommerce business while other retailers, such as Sears, have not been able to adapt. Retail stores are not dying; it's more that consumer behavior is changing.
People still want and need an in-store experience. The downfall of online shopping is you’re not able to try things on before you make a purchase, which is still important to consumers. The key to success is to find a happy medium between your physical location and your online presence.
We’re here to share some strategies to consider so that you can successfully adapt to the new consumer behavior.
Give consumers the information they need
While brick-and-mortar stores are not dead, the buyer’s journey does begin online. How it works is consumers turn to the internet for answers to their questions. They will do all their research online, and when they’re ready to make a purchase, then they will visit the retailer.
This means you must have an online presence. Without an online presence, you’re missing out on the opportunity to even get noticed. You must have a website that gives your customers several options to reach out. This should include email, phone number, and maybe even a contact form. Many businesses have implemented a ChatBot on their site so that if a customer has a question, it can instantly be answered. This way, you can capture leads and communicate with them through a more convenient channel of text messaging.
Prioritize response time
Consumers used to expect an email response in 4 to 5 hours. Now, consumers expect a response within an hour. To meet consumer expectations, brands must be prepared to engage 24/7.
This is huge with social media. Social media is one of the best ways to communicate with your customers. With this being said, when consumers interact and engage with your social media posts, they expect a timely response.
If you could improve your response rate on social media or even just your website, you might want to consider working with a team of marketing experts who could serve as an extra hand.
Increase traffic to your store
So, we have already established that it is important to have both a brick-and-mortar location and an e-commerce store. The next step is to get customers into your store. You might notice that online cart abandonment rates are high, which means you will want to have another way of closing the sale. This other way is getting foot traffic into your store so you can use in-store- marketing tools, including displays and face-to-face interaction.
One of the best ways to drive customers to your store is through digital marketing strategies like social media, email, and content marketing. With the right digital marketing strategy, you can make it clear to your customers why they need to visit your store.
Exceed expectations with customer service
We’ve talked about the importance of catering to the consumer online, but the same goes for when customers make a trip to your physical location. You could provide consumers with the best online experience, but if their trip to your physical location is anything less than what they experience online, you’re missing out on an opportunity.
Customers should be greeted with a smile, and help should always be available. You might want to look into ways to better serve your customers in-store, whether this means more employees or more tools to provide an excellent shopping experience.
Where many businesses miss out on opportunities is after the sale is complete. The biggest mistake you can make is making a sale and failing to follow up with the customer. After a customer has made a purchase, you can turn to your digital marketing strategy to get them to return to the store again. For instance, maybe send them an email thanking them for their business with a discount code for their next purchase.
With consistent communication, you can build strong relationships with loyal customers.
The answer to your question: which businesses can thrive online?
So, what businesses can thrive online? Really, all businesses can! With the proper digital marketing strategy and customer service skills, your business can thrive online and at its physical location.
Not sure where to start with your digital marketing strategy? Or maybe you have a digital marketing strategy that needs a little kick to it…whatever the case is, our team at Joseph Studios is here to help.
Contact our team to learn more!