With COVID-19, ecommerce has grown in popularity. It’s more convenient and safer to browse and order things online. Also, with more people working remotely, it saves an extra trip.
However, this doesn’t mean in-person shops are a thing of the past. In fact, about 40% of consumers make in-person purchases at least once a week. So, retailers must cater to these customers as well. Here are a few ideas for finding the perfect balance between the two.
1. Increase Instore Convenience
Online retail stores are popular because they provide more convenience. Consumers can quickly browse through digital catalogues and buy a product. To balance instore and ecommerce perks, retail stores should increase convenience. Many people want to skip long queues and crowded parking lots.
To reduce wait times, add more self-checkouts and virtual queue machines. Also, use technology like scan-and-go and smartphone apps so customers can automatically add items to their cart and speed up their checkout. Also, add comfortable seating and free Wi-Fi to entertain people while they wait. These adjustments can create an equal level of convenience for both shopping methods.
2. Add Interactive Displays in Stores
One of the benefits of in-person stores is seeing the products up close. So, to enhance this experience, consider creating more engaging displays. For example, these can include things like live demos or social activities. That way, consumers feel more engaged in the shopping experience. Some retailers are starting to take this initiative.
In January 2020, Walmart launched the Time Well Spent experience in Springdale, Arkansas. This included immersive displays like a nursery, a living room, and a bedroom. It gives shoppers a chance to touch and test the products.
Having these interactive experiences can also improve online sales. A customer may see something they like but decide to purchase it online to avoid waiting in the queue.
3. Combine Both Methods in One Sale
Remember that purchases don’t fully have to be online or instore. The ship-from-store method allows shoppers to find items they like and send them directly to their homes. This is especially useful if a particular item isn’t currently on display, such as certain-sized shoes.
Another way to combine methods is through “buy online, pick up instore.” This encourages people to go to the physical location. Once there, shoppers may be more enticed to make an on-site purchase.
4. Promote Online Options Instore
Offer your frequent customers loyalty programs that encourage them to shop online. Create an app that makes it easy to browse products, learn about deals, and watch promotional videos.
Also, emailing them instore promotions can encourage them to come back. Using apps can also help consumers organise shopping lists and receive coupons. Another way to bring online features instore is to display your website on touch screens. The convenience of digital technology encourages both online and on-site purchases.
5. Promote Instore Returns
In 2020, retail returns jumped to about 16.6% of all purchased merchandise. The one downside of online shopping is that the return policy isn’t always as simple. It involves an extra step of mailing back the product. So, allow instore purchases for all your items to encourage online shopping. It also gives the person a reason to check out the store.
Plus, it’s also a chance for employees to try to upsell their top products and increase profits. In addition, workers must be trained to handle instore and online purchases. Have a specific organisation system and a separate location in the store for each type of item.
6. Cross-Train Employees
Have your workers alternative handling both instore and online orders. That way, they can see the challenges and roles of each type of customer fulfilment. Then they can better answer people’s questions, leading to an improved customer experience. It can also ensure the service for both methods is of the same standard.
However, prevent scheduling conflicts by changing out sales teams when it’s not busy. Also, find ways to encourage any workers who feel nervous about learning a new role.
Merging Instore and Ecommerce
As the world becomes more digital, ecommerce has become a booming industry. Some people still prefer being able to test products physically, so try out some of these tips to find the perfect balance between the instore and ecommerce experience.