Running an online business and a physical retail store can be challenging. It can be especially difficult to make both operate seamlessly while providing the same great experience to your customers.
But with the right know-how, you can bridge the gap between your eCommerce store and your brick-and-mortar retail location.
Access Data to Better Understand the Customer Journey
To bridge the gap between e-commerce and physical retail, it’s important to understand how customers interact with the different channels as they move through the purchase process.
Gaining access to data can help you to better understand how customer behavior and preferences change.
So, you should track customer data across your online store, your brick-and-mortar store, individual offers, marketing content, and more, to better understand your customers.
You can then identify gaps between the online and in-store experiences and take the appropriate steps to improve conversion rates both at your physical retail location and online.
Enable Customers to Use In-store Devices to Access Content
Providing informative content online and offering special discounts on in-store prices is one way of helping customers and getting more customers into your physical store.
But you can also make things work the other way around by enabling customers to access online content via in-store devices.
For instance, you could provide in-store customers with QR codes. A customer would then simply scan the QR code while in your store to find out additional product information.
Many customers prefer buying online because they can access more information about a product. By making it simple to access that content when customers are in your store, you can better ensure they make the purchase on the spot rather than waiting to think about it and making the purchase online later.
By providing easy-to-access additional product and brand information when customers are in your store, you can streamline the purchase experience, retain more customers, and drive a positive customer experience.
Support Modern Purchasing Experiences
Today’s customers like to have multiple choices regarding purchasing and delivery or collection.
For instance, a customer could visit your brick-and-mortar store to buy a product or the customer could buy the item online.
A customer could also use your physical store as a showroom to see products in the flesh before making the purchase online.
Alternatively, a customer could look at a product online and then visit your store to purchase it.
Furthermore, customers want more and more delivery and collection options. For instance, they may wish to buy online and collect in-store, or even buy online and pick up curbside, meaning they don’t even have to enter a store.
By understanding your customers’ behavior and wants and offering multiple ways for them to complete purchases, you can soon bridge the gap between your online and offline stores.
Localize the Customer Experience
Today’s customers are increasingly looking for more personal purchase experiences, both online and in physical retail stores.
One element of personalization you should consider focusing on is localizing digital and in-store experiences.
For instance, you can use social media to interact with customers about local events and news and get more online users into your store by providing in-store demonstrations and events.
You can make the customer service element a more localized experience too. For instance, if you sell your products all over the world, existing and potential customers are more likely to interact with your brand if you can provide customer service in various local areas.
You don’t have to set up customer support centers all over the world, though. Instead, you can use a VoIP phone service that uses local telephone numbers.
That way, when customers call you or you call customers, the phone number will be local to the specific customers’ locations. In turn, that means the customers feel more connected to your business and better value your customer service.
Ultimately, that leads to more sales.
So, for instance, if you have a large customer base in Texas but your business is located in another state or country, you can easily get a Texas phone number.
Your customers in Texas will then think they’re calling a local number, even if you’re located halfway around the world.
By meeting customers at the local level, you’ll make your brand appear more authentic and boost performance across all sales channels.
Personalize the Customer Experience
One challenge that owners of physical retail stores and online retail stores face is providing the same sort of personal care to customers who order by phone or online as they would to customers who they see face-to-face.
Getting localized phone numbers is one way of improving customer care. And employing agents to answer the phone or emails during times when your physical store is closed will enable customers to make inquiries and purchases at times that suit them.
Thus, you can provide better customer service and make more sales.
Also, consider providing customers with options like video chat calls, which would enable you to still provide personalized customer service even if it isn’t face-to-face in the flesh.