How to Maximize Omnichannel Sales
While online retailers might want to give the impression that brick-and-mortar stores are dying off, big-time brands beg to differ. In fact, 2014 looks to be the year of the retail giant: Apple is preparing to expand its retail presence; Gap is franchising stores in Hungary, Mexico and Paraguay; and Costco is planning to open 150 new stores in the next five years.
Even Amazon.com, the king of e-commerce, has started a locker service to provide physical pick-up locations. The trend is clear: Despite all the benefits and possibilities that come with e-commerce, brick-and-mortar retail is here to stay.
Does that mean we're primed for an endless battle between the two? The reality is quite the opposite: The two channels will continue to rely on each other to survive, and only a carefully blended strategy of both will keep you in business.
Brick-and-Mortar and E-Tailers Are Symbiotic
Whether purchasing a car, a pair of shoes or a computer, both brick-and-mortar retail and e-tail have very important roles in the world of commerce. Retail acts as the showroom, where consumers can experience a product for the first time, while e-tail allows them to build confidence in the price they pay for a product as well as research all of their options in a convenient, real-time format.
Choosing one over the other forces your customers to choose, too. And in today's competitive retail world, they'll likely choose the brand that offers both options.
Maximizing and Integrating Bricks and Clicks
Integrating your brand experience online and offline is a delicate process. One in-store misstep could mean a loss online, and a misstep online could lead to an irate customer in-store. Here are eight tips for maximizing and integrating your online and offline customer experiences:
1. Mix virtual and physical experiences. Offer virtual experiences in a brick-and-mortar setting for tech-savvy shoppers. Focus on products that sell best offline, and merchandise those prominently.