What? Stores are not being killed by online shops? Newspapers like talking about how traditionnal stores are shutting down “because of” the new era of digital shops. But what about these pure players opening Brick and Mortar prove that shopping trips are not dead? What can I do too to differentiate my brand from my competitors?
Zalando Beauty Station, Casper Stores, Shopify Space (yes!), Outdoor Voices, and more recently Wayfair, all these online retailers (except Shopify selling services) which are skyrocketing on the web are now looking to expend the customer experience to the real life, building community.
Stores serve as an extension of the online-shop where customers can interact with the brand. For these pure players, the main purpose of opening stores is not selling products first. It is more to activate the interaction of their brand with customers; what bad brick and mortar do not still understand.
Statistically speaking, as a percentage of all retail sales, eCommerce market share is increasing year by year but brick and mortar is still a dominant player by a landslide.
So what could I add to my online store to connect my brand with my customers?
Are you in the game of Brick and Mortar and online retailer?
Following services can offer to your customers from the easiest to the most challenging to implement. Better to kick your a** if you are still not at step one 🙂
1. Discovery phase:
– Stock of your store(s) on product pages: start to notify your customers about your stores
– Return products to your store(s): start to interact with your customers, get additional data and feedback (opinion of their customer experience)
2. Interaction phase:
– eReservation (customers book online, pay offline): interact your customers with your brand, increase purchase value, your customers can find the right fit and order online next time
– Click and Collect (complementary of eReservation – customers pay online, pick-up products offline): customers want to feel by themself products, engage the discussion with your customers, provide a “tactile” experience
3. Connection phase:
– Stock from your stores available on your online-shop: customers order products from store stock (orders ship from stores or products pick-up by partners for dispatching)
– Stock from your partner stores: see how Zalando is testing this awesome step for online retailers
Are you currently out of the game with no store?
You may be face to a huge and saturated competition online even for niche market. One of the first approach can be first to test a pop-up shop and measure how you can reach your customers for a specific time period.
At the end your goal is to provide one and only customer experience. Most of the traditional companies do not have store issues, they have brand issues. Offline and online have to embrass themself. Being able to master physical and online-shop together is going to be essential.
You have to bring your online brand to life.