The rise of ecommerce in recent years has been real—and yet, for the time being, most shoppers still choose to buy from brick-and-mortar establishments. Savvy business owners are starting to offer the best of both worlds with omni-channel sales strategies. By combining the sheer convenience of online buying with all the perks of physical shopping, brands can better serve customers near and far. Every company, from a local standalone SMB to a chain with multiple locations, should consider supplementing brick-and-mortar sales with ecommerce currently. This is especially important for homeowners that are looking for brick for their homes.
Why? A study from Harvard Business Review shows the more channels customers use, the more value they provide to your business. Those who shop both online and in person, spend an average of four percent more in-store and 10 percent more on the web. Compared to people who only use one channel, multi-channel shoppers consistently spend more in the store on average.
Offering an online component to your brick-and-mortar sales also provides customers more flexibility. They can buy online and pick up in the store—or get their merchandise shipped to their homes. Shoppers can also visit your store to see, touch and feel items before placing an online order a few days later.
Here’s what to consider when you’re establishing a website to go with your physical store.
Selling online means taking the possibility of data breaches very seriously. Otherwise, you could irreparably compromise your customers’ credentials and trust. Luckily, security advances in card-not-present sales have advanced in leaps and bounds. Making sure your payment gateways are PCI-compliant is another good step.
Let’s say you want to open a furniture store online to supplement your existing physical location. Once you figure out logistics like whether you’ll ship nationally or whether customers have to pick up their orders, it’s time to launch your online marketing efforts. You may already utilize local search engine optimization (SEO) so people can find your furniture store on Google and visit your nearby location. But now it’s time to think bigger.
You may choose to shift the focus of your marketing campaigns from hyper-local to broad, since anywhere you can ship is fair game. Consider paid advertising as well as creating organic content containing keywords relevant to your target audience. The beauty of ecommerce is business owners are no longer constrained by physical proximity. Your marketing strategy needs to reflect this fact.
Giving your shoppers choices at checkout can reduce shopping cart abandonment, especially when it comes to order fulfillment options. Here, you’ll want to offer a mixture of shipping speeds at different price points, plus the option to pick up purchases at your physical locations. Some customers may be willing to spend more for express shipping; others want to keep costs down, even if it means receiving their package a few days later. Choice is key to convincing customers to go through with a transaction.
Another perk of offering in-store pickup, besides eliminating the need to ship an item, is pulling more customers through your door. This draws more eyes to your product lineup, and may prompt someone to purchase additional items while they’re already there.
All signs point to omni-channel retail being the way of the future. Business owners supplementing brick-and-mortar sales with ecommerce can offer customers the best of both worlds.
Interior Design & Photography: Brit Jones Interiors.
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