These days, many of our shopping routines have moved from the local corner store to an online shopping cart. It’s become increasingly common to purchase even household essentials like toilet paper and diapers online, while using physical stores only for items that can’t be easily shipped.
While the convenience and low prices of e-commerce has the potential to lure your customers away, you can combat them by creating a warm, hospitable, and attentive environment for your in-store shoppers. How can you do that? By embracing digital technology.
Here are a few ways that digital advances can work for you:
• Personalize customer experiences with location-aware offers.
Apple’s new iBeacon technology allows patrons to access special deals, information, and promotions based on their exact location, which can provide you with a fantastic opportunity to give each customer a personalized experience in your store. Develop a mobile app for your store with geotargeted offers based on your display locations, so that your customers will receive custom offers and information based on their specific interests. For instance, if they pick up a piece of cookware, your app can instantly provide the product specs, or videos about how to use it.
• Streamline customer service with an iPad point-of-sale tool.
Many iPad- and tablet-based point of sale tools are now available for retailers and restaurant owners. Such solutions can enable your staff to easily ring up orders from anywhere in your store, eliminating the need for customers to wait in line. At restaurants, they can even be used as digital menus—which has been shown to increase sales volume by 10 to 15 percent.
• Buy online, pick up in store.
Many brick-and-mortar stores are now simplifying the shopping process for customers by allowing them to purchase items online for an in-store pick-up, allowing them to avoid shipping charges, or to purchase fresh food and other spoilable items. The wholesale club Sam’s Club, for instance, allows shoppers to reserve items online through its “Click ‘n Pull” system, so that they can stop in at their convenience to pick up their entire shopping haul in just a few minutes. For grocery stores and other shops where customers are likely to buy a number of items, this type of service can be a huge benefit.