Anything you can do on your desktop or laptop at home you can now do on your smartphone or tablet, from anywhere. That means shoppers can indulge in the practice of "webrooming" when they’re on the go as well as at home. And they do.
They’re using their mobile devices to check out your merchandise before they even decide to visit you. They’re using their mobile devices to locate your store. And they’re still “on the phone” even as they’re browsing your aisles. If your store doesn’t match their online expectations, you’re in trouble.
Your store is still an irresistible draw
Even the most ardent online shoppers want to visit your store. As sophisticated as technology is – and continues to become – there are aspects of the shopping experience that can only be found in person. And today, retail is all about the customer’s experience. But customers expect a “seamless,” consistent experience across all channels. If you aren’t providing that, you’re confusing and frustrating them.
Make sure your products are accurately represented online...
...and that in-person presentation meets or exceeds expectations. No matter how popular mobile shopping gets, only in your store can shoppers personally experience your products – the close-up look, the feel, the sound or fragrance or taste. Online buying is OK for products we “know.” Otherwise, we want to check things out before making that buying decision.
For example, even the highest quality screens tend to display colors variously, so ordering “true to color” is nearly impossible. For certain products, this is essential. In the store, customers can easily mix and match items, so they‘re more likely to purchase groups of related products. And in-store displays tempt buyers with impulse items that represent a significant part of your revenue.
But static displays aren’t enough. Incorporate the same demonstration video you do online. Or build displays that show customers how to choose or use products. The more interactive, the better.
Stop thinking of your online and physical stores as separate
Unified branding is critical, and that includes the shopping experience. Special offers, coupons, etc. must be valid both online and in store. Create your own app that enables customers to access your online product content, navigate your store, and take instant advantage of special offers. And for heaven’s sake, make sure you stock the same inventory online and in-store.
Use customer data smartly
POS technology allows you to track each customer’s buying habits, both in-store and online. Are you collating that data to get the most complete, accurate picture of each customer? The better you know them, the more effectively you can target them with mobile-based communications or incentives. Or the purchasing and pickup/delivery option(s) most relevant to them.
Emphasize personalized assistance
Live chat may help online shoppers make buying decisions, but it doesn’t compare to one-on-one personal guidance from a knowledgeable sales associate. Savvy floor staff can even show customers how to use your store app to get the best shopping experience — in the store, on the phone, or online.