There is no denying that the last few years have seen a considerable amount of shoppers preferring to shop online. It is peaceful; you can take your time, carefully browsing for hours if you need to. If you have a question, then you can simply pop open the chat function that most websites have.
It has everything you need… or does it?
Shopping in person is a very social experience, although not all stores are made to be as comfortable as possible for people who want to shop. The in-store shopping experience can’t stand up to the potential online experience, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t offer plenty.
There needs to be a certain level of cohesion between your online experience and your in-store experience.
Here are a few ways that you can elevate the experience and put a unique twist on something that has been around for years.
They’re not sales
If there is one thing that customers don’t love – it is being sold. Even when they are in the market to buy something – they don’t want a salesperson to sell it to them. Instead of calling your team the salespeople, the cashiers or anything similar.
Consider what would make better sense for your company. You often need your people to look, feel, and act more like they are experts in what they do.
It might sound OTT for some stores, but if you focus on the customer’s experience, they will notice a difference and most likely return to your store.
Part of not having your team just be seen as sales is also giving them the training to make them more than that. Consider the Apple Genius; while they will sell you everything you need and more, they aren’t just your typical salespeople.
They show you how to use items, can help you fix yours with troubleshooting, show you new technology and more. They aren’t just a sales team. They are highly skilled and highly trained.
Clean, fresh and new. No matter how old the shelves are in your store, they should gleam like new; the store should have either a clean or a neutral smell. Make sure that if you have, say, drinks and food storage in a refrigerated display case, the fridge is cleaned and well maintained.
The floors should be hazard-free – consider how much footfall you have, and it might be better to skip things like carpet and go for hardwood – something that will last and is easy to clean and maintain.
Make it social
Combine the store experience with an online social experience where possible. People love to share new finds, low prices, excellent service and more on their social media. Allow your customers to do the heavy lifting for you, and create a store that offers the chance to have social interactions.
Fabulous decor, exciting furniture, and you can even have sneak-peeks of new releases on display too.
When it comes to the interior design of your store, take inspiration from the boutique cafes, art galleries and museums. They have unique experiences that align with the customer’s lifestyle.
Interactive displays, large pieces of art, and even graffiti can all be incredible to keep people in the store for a while.
It is often easier for digital-first companies to make this transition rather than a brick-and-mortar first. When stores are brick-and-mortar first, the pivot and focus on the digital aspects can come less naturally.
Taste & Touch
Depending on the type of goods you sell, it can be great to have things available for people to touch and taste. Allowing people to try some of the food products or drinks can encourage them to buy something – but it will also give them a great experience.
Keep in mind that one of the biggest perks of having a store is that, unlike online, people have the opportunity to touch the leather, see the detailing in the stitching, hold the weight of the bag, and see the size of the bottle… you get the idea.
Add some flair to your displays, and do it with the thought in mind that people love to touch things – so let them do it.
If your online store is bright, fast, and uses particular colours – but your brick and mortar store is drab, the disconnect can usually have loyal online shoppers feeling like they are in a different store.
This can cause a rift between what the customer thought you were and what you are in the real world. It drifts too far from the branding work that went into the website.
Aside from those critical details, you should also consider having a click-and-collect option so that people can come into the store to pick up their goods. Many shoppers prefer to have click-and-collect possibilities so they can pick up their items at their leisure and skip the cost of delivery.
Your brick-and-mortar store can only hold so many products – but your website can have everything. As well as offering click and collect on your website to bring people into the store, have a few screens that provide access to your online store.
This means that your team can shop them how to navigate to the product, and they can order it for the in-store pick on a different day!
Quit the lines
Is there anything worse than standing in a store that is a bit too warm in a long line of people all trying to buy something? It can be really off-putting, and that is one of the main reasons people prefer to shop online.
At busy times, have one of your staff head out to people in the line, and take card payments with the card machine so people can pay and leave. That means that online people with questions, returns, or cash will remain in the queue.
Reduce the line further by having another member of the team ask people if they need help with anything specific.
Do everything you can to speed up the purchase process.
Marketing is one of the most important things you will do for your online and offline experience; here are tips to help: Maximizing marketing consulting services for small business owners – Outrage Magazine.