Now that retail stores have reopened, they need to start thinking about what they need to do to remain competitive with online shopping. I’ve been thinking about this a lot and reached out to my network to ask what measures would be required to overcome this challenge.
In a poll conducted on LinkedIn, almost half the respondents thought online/in-store integration was the way to go, while the remaining were split between improving the in-store experience and investing in e-commerce. Let’s dive into these points and breakdown what retail store owners should be doing.
In the COVID-19 world, online/in-store integration should be high on the priority list for retailers. Consumers expect a seamless transition between online and offline and want a consistent experience. Retail stores should be investing in their digital strategy and figuring out what works for their customers.
Scott Adel, Leader of Shopper Outcomes McKesson Canada, believes, “a successful retailer should leverage their investments to focus their positions on access to their brand first, aligning selection across channels and deploying strategies to make it convenient for the customer based on their tolerance”.
One way in which this integration can be achieved is by providing customers with real-time product availability. Now more than ever customers are expecting to be aware of what products are available in-store, especially those customers who want to get in and out. Click To TweetFor stores, this is beneficial because they can use real-time inventory tracking technology to fulfill online orders from physical stores.
Store associates can also be trained and armed with technology that enables them to take their expertise online. This could be in the form of engaging with customers via online chat, bridging the gap between the virtual and in-person experience.
Improve In-Store Experience
What is it about a store that makes it unique compared to shopping online? Retail stores should be thinking about offering customers experiences they simply cannot get anywhere else. Retail stores need to figure out what services they can offer that would give customers an incentive to visit their location and increase loyalty.
A great example is Ikea which offers customers an in-store food court that overtime has built its own following. We have all heard of the famous meatballs and for several Ikea customers, it’s the food that keeps them coming back.
According to Warren Doyle, Founder at Inkel.health, improving in-store experience requires an investment in employees within the organization. “Develop their [employees] strengths, values, and actively listen to their stories/insights about brand and positive customer experience”.
It’s no secret that staff can make or break a customer’s in-store experience. So, what are the things that not only create a better experience for customers but also for staff? This is the time to be investing in a training program that constantly evolves and instills confidence in staff to do the right thing every day!High performing managers and sales teams are the keys to meeting targets and increasing customer loyalty. Now more than ever they need skills and tools required to succeed. Click To Tweet
In a COVID-19 world, retail staff are going to be dealing with new challenges and this isn’t going to be easy. We’ve created a training program for retail sales during COVID-19 that addresses these challenges and gives your staff the new skills they need.
Put Your Money into
In this day and age, surviving without an e-commerce store is going to be next to impossible. COVID-19 has been a wake-up call for retail stores who now need to have an e-commerce presence to maximize access to customers. Stores have the option of an e-commerce presence through a third-party retailer like Amazon or host their own site that gives them control of customer experience. The latter allows them to gain control of customer data, increasing repeat sales and lower marketing costs.
There is debate on whether e-influence is more important than e-commerce and according to Managing Director CQIC, Carl Boutet, the two “aren’t mutually exclusive propositions; but they can drive different outcomes”.
It’s exciting that stores have reopened but the real challenge starts now. Retail store owners need to actively think of strategies that would help them compete with online shopping. Click To Tweet Training staff so they provide better customer experiences can help them achieve this.
Contact us today and get your staff the training they need and deserve.
At Graff Retail, we create leading-edge retail training programs specifically designed and customized to increase staff knowledge and performance with innovative teaching methods to drive sales and revenue for businesses.
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