Six Ways Brick-and-Mortar Stores Can Combat Online Competition – Part 2

Chris DiMuro  |  Account Director

March 16, 2017

Last week, we discussed adding in-store Wi-Fi, shipping options and in-store pickup and how they can help you combat showrooming and drive more online customers to your brick-and-mortar store.

This week, we’ll explore three more strategies and tactics to help you compete more effectively for the always-on digital shoppers.

4. Mobile wallets

The question is no longer, do I swipe or dip – it is, can I tap? Contactless chip cards are the next generation of payment. The cards are embedded with a chip for card readers, plus there’s a thin antenna wire around the edge of the card that allows them to communicate with a contactless card reader’s radio frequency interface. This tap-and-go practice is common in Canada, and, according to ABI Research, usage is going to skyrocket from 25.5 million in 2015 to 405 million in 2021. “Contactless cards set to flood US”

The contactless card makes sense, because customers want speed and convenience. It is particularly useful for low-value, fast transactions under $30. It is touch and go.

5. Improving the in-store experience

How do you get in front of showrooming? Stores can assist customers through their journey by providing in-store kiosks and digital signage that allow them to find and compare products, see product demonstrations, make payments, check inventory, and order out-of-stock items and have them shipped to their home.

Sephora is all about delivering an outstanding customer experience. Customers can now watch video tutorials, take a video class with a Sephora team member at their San Francisco store or share content through stations called “Beauty Workshops.”

6. Empowering the employee

You cannot create a great customer experience without the help of your store associates. If they are armed with the right technology, they can increase in-store customer satisfaction and sales. About 33% of consumers say that store associates provide a better shopping experience when they are equipped with the latest mobile technologies (Deloitte’s 2014 Annual Holiday Survey: “Making a List, Clicking It Twice” – Deloitte University Press, October 28, 2014).

Customers now expect store associates to be able to use mobile devices to look up product information and inventory. Consumers use their devices in many stores, so why shouldn’t your associates be able to do it? Give your associates the ability to match online prices to close the sale. Give them the ability to have an out-of-stock item shipped to the home for free (45% of consumers are very likely to take them up on the offer). The more empowered your employees are, the higher the customer satisfaction and the more loyal your customers will become.

The retail industry is in a constant state of change as technology and physical locations collide. The brick-and-mortar stores that not only survive, but thrive, will be the ones that embrace the possibilities and create an engaging, seamless experience for their customers. Retailers must become omnichannel experts to survive in today’s world. You can no longer view your channels as separate – to your customers, they are one and the same. Use the above strategies and tactics to help convert showrooming to webrooming, and become the preferred shopping channel for your current and prospective customers.

Chris DiMuro |  Account Director
Chris is an account director at Catalyst specializing in data-driven solutions, including campaign development, analytics and database development. She holds a BS in marketing from RIT. In her past life she worked at Eastman Kodak Company and JCPenney.

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