Even if the COVID-19 pandemic has paved the way for a surge in ecommerce, a physical shop remains a viable option across all industries. There are just some products that are better seen, heard, tasted or felt in-person, such as clothes and food.
Retail sales in the United States dipped a bit during the first half of 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions. However, profits improved later in the year and even reached USD$1.47 trillion. (1)
As such, if you’re planning to build a brick-and-mortar store to showcase your merchandise, you should go for it. Remember, it’s all about location. For instance, if you’re planning to target clients from the East End of London, going for a Shoreditch retail space would be your best bet, since the area is a known hub for fashion, food and art.
Whether you’re planning to put up a physical shop or already have one, you should make sure to create a great in-store experience for your customers. It’s one great way to generate interest in your brand and, in turn, foster loyalty. With that in mind, here are some tips to help you out:
- Maximise technology for in-store operations
You can use modern tools to streamline your processes and make physical shopping more enjoyable for your customers. As such, many software programs and apps can create a modern retail environment without losing the human touch.
These are some ways you can maximise technology for in-store operations:
- Click-and-collect – If you already have an app, you can allow customers to order online and pick up their purchases in the store. Not only does this make the process more convenient for users, but it also brings in foot traffic to your shop. Last year, customers spent USD$72.46 billion through click-and-collect, which was a 10% growth from 2019. (2)
- Instore website – Another way to enhance your customer’s experience is by giving them the chance to explore your website right in your store. This is a great thing to do if you have several shops and warehouses, so that potential buyers can easily check your stocks across all your stores.
- Pay attention to your shop’s ambience
Fostering the right mood is also ideal for a superior customer in-store experience. You should put a lot of thought into the feel that your retail space evokes. It’s not just about looking good but making sure that consumers feel good as well.
These are some crucial factors you should consider:
- Music – Music can be used to establish your brand’s voice. Whether you choose hard rock, jazz or bossa nova, you should make sure that the songs playing in the background fit with your company image. Moreover, it should have just the right volume so your customers and associates can still hear each other when they converse.
- Lighting – Illumination is another factor to remember. Overhead LED lamps can bring more light into your space, but they might be too harsh for your retail window displays. Check the type of light that each space needs to boost your ambience.
- Fragrance – You can also make your shop more memorable to customers by choosing the right scent. Just like music, it can help you establish your brand’s identity.
- Revamp your checkout process
In any physical shop, one aspect that has the highest potential to frustrate buyers is the checkout process. Consumers dislike waiting, and if you don’t address this issue, you run the risk of losing your customers. Here are some solutions to this problem:
- Mobile registers – With today’s technology, your cashiers no longer need to be pinned down to one part of your store. You can equip them with a tablet and have them come to the customer instead of vice versa. This makes it more convenient for customers, and they don’t have to wait long for the transaction.
- In-app checkout – Similar to click-and-collect, you can also give customers the option to pay for their order through your app. Afterwards, all they’ll need to do is to grab the items and go.
- Train your staff
These days, your associates should be less of a salesperson and more of a consultant or expert. Depending on the image of your brand, you can even position them as a friend of your customers who only want to offer the best for clients. Knowing this, you need to equip them with the knowledge and skills so that they can relate and connect with customers better.
Having a physical shop is still a viable option for businesses even in the midst of the current COVID-19 situation. More than choosing the right location, you should make sure to provide customers with the best in-store experience through the tips discussed in this post.
- “Retail Statistics You Should Know,” Source: https://smallbiztrends.com/2021/07/retail-statistics.html
- “US Click and Collect in 2020 and 2021,” Source: https://www.emarketer.com/content/us-click-collect-2020-2021