Despite the growth of online shopping, brick-and-mortar stores aren’t dead — far from it. In fact, according to the 2016 BDO Retail Compass Survey of CFOs, the biggest area in which small retailers plan to invest in the coming year isn’t ecommerce, but redesigning and remodeling physical stores.
Just nine percent of retailers say they will invest the most capital in ecommerce this year (down from 22 percent last year), while 31 percent plan to invest the most money in store redesign (up from nine percent last year). While the survey focused on large retailers, there’s a lesson for small retailers in the findings. Here are five things you can do to update your location in the coming year.
How Small Retailers Plan To Invest
Is your store looking dirty, dated or dingy? Shoppers want a pleasant experience when they take time to visit a physical store, so look around your location both inside and out with a critical eye, or ask someone who you trust for their honest opinion. Updating doesn’t have to cost a lot: If you’re on a budget, consider giving the walls a fresh coat of paint, doing a deep cleaning to make everything sparkle, or just rearranging shelves, rounders and racks to create more “white space” and make the store look more modern.
“Tactile” is one of the qualities customers seek in physical stores, according to the survey. When shoppers come into a store, they want to touch and feel the goods. Arrange your products in a way that invites both the eye and the hand. Put out testers for things like skin-care products; let shoppers play with floor models for electronics or home goods. If remodeling is in your budget, choose furnishings and surfaces with an eye to creating a tactile environment that combines hard and soft, natural and industrial elements.
Keep It Simple
Consumers are craving convenience. Make shopping as easy as possible by offering the option to buy online or by phone and pickup in-store. Keep checkout lines minimal by arming your sales clerks with tablets or smartphones so they can accept mobile payments anywhere in the store. Offer to put products on hold for shoppers who call the store or place holds online. If your price point warrants it, you could even hire a personal shopper to help busy customers.
Personalize the Experience
Consumers seek customization when shopping in-store. Of course, independent retailers have always offered a personal touch, but now you can use technology to take this one step beyond. Implementing digital loyalty programs (there are many available for retailers of all sizes) not only lets you entice customers with rewards, but also enables you to capture the demographic information, buying habits and interests of each customer so you can offer them exactly what they want.
“Engagement” just may be the marketing buzzword of the year, and it’s no different in retail. Provide an engaging experience in your store that not only draws customers in, but also keeps them there longer so they spend more money. Special events, VIP sales, refreshments, demonstrations and music are all tactics you can employ to engage shoppers and make your store a fun destination they’ll come back to again and again.
How will you use these five strategies in your store this year?
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