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Keep Your Brick and Mortar Sharp in a Digital Age

As customers are shifting towards e-commerce preferences, it’s vital to the success of your business that you find unique ways for your business to flourish in a brick and mortar setting. Don’t be trumped by digital competition — focus on the things that online businesses cannot bring to customers in the same way.

Technology is cold and efficient, meaning there isn’t really any room for improvisation. Websites don’t change in the same way an experience changes every time go into a brick and mortar location, and people usually are lead to online shop because they have a particular item in mind they want to purchase. By completing that purchase with a few swift clicks, they might not even browse further.

Capitalize on the spontaneity of an in-store event or special that an e-commerce store would not be able to bring to its customers. Arrange your store in a way that compels customers to move around and browse further, even if they’ve already selected an item they came in specifically to purchase.

Something technology lacks is the face-to-face contact you get from entering a store and engaging with the staff. You can build customer relationships and encourage brand loyalty via customer service. Have welcoming, knowledgeable sales staff to assist the customer in a way that a chat box on a website cannot. You can help them by physically testing products they are looking at, suggest similar items based on their knowledge of customer tastes, and incorporate other customer service tactics that make the customer want to keep coming back.

A computer screen or phone screen also limits your experience. When you enter a brick and mortar location, all your senses are in effect in a real-life, 3 dimensional location. Online, you may only be looking at images on a flat screen. Create an all-encompassing experience for customers, punctuated by music, scents, lighting, and decor, that help to give a fully realized version of your business, and make the experience a lot more enjoyable for the customer than looking at a screen. Sometimes the store experience is the entire reason someone would choose to go to a store instead of shopping online. Capitalize on the reasons why someone would want to visit your business.

Because digital is so important to consumers, you won’t want to completely isolate it. We rely on our mobile devices so much that there may be beneficial ways to tie them to your in-store experience. Incorporate technology and social media into your brick and mortar in ways that help foster a customer relationship even further. Things like membership programs that can be tracked through mobile devices, options to look up products in the online store via scanning, mobile or emailed receipts, or the encouraged use of sharing on social media. If you tie the two together, you can harness the best of both worlds.

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