If you’ve been following retail news lately, you may have noticed the disagreements about the manifestation of brick-and-mortar retail. Insiders have been referring to retail as an industry searching for answers. Some have been left scratching their heads, wondering: why would Amazon open brick-and-mortar locations? The answer is that physical stores offer a unique customer experience. This is particularly true to Gen Z shoppers of which 53% say they still visit physical retail stores at least once a week.
As a retailer, it is your job to ensure all the little things that sum up to a great customer experience are done at the right time, on the right channel.
When strategizing on how you can compete with a juggernaut like Amazon – there are some tactics worth noticing and considering.
Customer experience is KING
Amazon will likely always be the cheapest and fastest. To compete, retailers must make customer experience their true north. Customers seek an in-store experience that is every bit as convenient, extensive and streamlined as what they’ve encountered online. By leveraging people, places and technologies, you can create meaningful experiences that resonate with consumers – making excited them excited to visit your stores.
Become an omni-channel data-driven retailer
Consumer purchasing behavior has evolved, making it imperative for retailers to have a unified view of their customer and their path to purchase. The key to creating personalized engagements with your customers is to collect the right data across all channels. Leveraging your Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system and a BI platform can help ingest, manipulate and analyze data from multiple channels, helping you understand your customers in new and insightful ways.
Omni-channel data management yields a competitive advantage
Meaningful data is an essential element for understanding customer behaviors and lifestyles. As a retailer, you simply cannot conduct a Google search query to gather these insights; you have to work for it. High-quality, well-curated multi-channel data, will enable your brand to be in the right place, at the right time, with the right message. In other words, being where your customer is (before your competition).
Compete with convenience
Whether you’re Amazon or a boutique, customers expect their experience to be convenient. When visiting a Target location, customers can fire up the Target app, and ask it to locate say, the iPhone X. The app will find what they’re looking for, telling them that aisle C7 has what you seek. Sounds convenient, right? If brick-and-mortar retailers want to put wins back on the board, they must leverage technology that becomes an enhancer, a facilitator of consumer convenience.
The modern-day consumer purchasing journey is a complex process, and it’s why omni-channel selling is important. Customers care about experiences, about solutions, about shopping with ease and simplicity. Consumers are also no longer loyal to single brand or type of shopping. To compete, retailers must understand what motivates their consumers and how their brand and products can go beyond incremental product value and help them achieve their desired long-term lifestyle.