With the way that e-commerce has been steadily increasing in popularity, a lot of folks are making bold statements and predictions about how brick-and-mortar shops are on the brink of extinction.
And they have very good reason to believe it. As an industry, online businesses have raked in annual sales amounting to more than $2.3 trillion globally. The same people believe that the coronavirus pandemic is the nail in the coffin for retail shops and establishments when lockdowns and social distancing were implemented.
While these things prove to be true, just because e-commerce is booming now doesn’t necessarily mean that brick-and-mortar is dead. The smarter businessmen will see this as an opportunity to evolve and grow and will come up with ways to embrace digitization while keeping their physical operations going.
5 Online Tactics Brick-and-Mortar Business Owners Can Do to Recover from the Pandemic
1. Engage customers using social media
One of the many not-so-secret weapons of businesses today is social media. Keep your customers (and potential customers) engaged by maintaining active social media accounts. Post relevant updates on your sites and keep your content engaging.
The way you fashion your social media posts should be in line with your branding, which is why you need to also conduct a brand health tracking to see if you’re still on the right track as far as your branding is concerned and if you’re interacting with the right people.
Keep in mind that for all your social media posts, your goal is to entice your followers and subscribers to visit your shop at the soonest possible time.
2. Provide exclusive in-store incentives for your newsletter subscribers
Newsletters are an effective way of communicating with your loyal customers and keeping them updated with the latest from your shop. Increase foot traffic to your shop by offering irresistible promotions and discounts that can only be availed in-store. This gives you the opportunity to also reach out to online-only shoppers and encourage them to pay you a visit.
3. In-store returns for online purchases
Where returns are concerned, most folks want to go about the process in the fastest and most convenient way possible. Offer to have in-store returns for items ordered from your online shop. This helps speed up the return process, minimize the stresses of dealing with handling requirements, and builds greater confidence and trust in you as a retailer.
4. Utilize Google My Business listings and Google Shopping Actions
One of the things you need to keep in mind when it comes to embracing digitization is that Google is your friend and partner. A lot of consumers turn to Google to research items online before making any in-store purchases. It will help your business a lot if you employ the different tools that Google has to offer such as Google My Business listings and Google Shopping Actions.
Both tools help boost your visibility in online local searches so you need to provide as much accurate information about your shop as you can so that people know where you are and how to get to you.
5. Buy online, pickup in-store
Lastly, it is also important to note that even though customers enjoy online shopping, they also want the benefits of actual in-store purchases such as getting their hands immediately on the items they want.
For this reason, give your customers an avenue to make purchases online and make it convenient for them by providing several payment options and giving them the choice to pick their purchase up from your store. This reduces the handover time and minimizes the inconveniences of dealing with couriers and handlers.
An added bonus for you here is that 69% of those who chose to pick up their items from the store make additional purchases.
For a brick-and-mortar shop to succeed not just post-pandemic but more so in a digital world, it needs to embrace the digitization process and not be left in the dark. The smarter business owners will incorporate both online and offline shopping experience. After all, people prefer to craft their own shopping experience the way they want to, and usually, it involves the best of both worlds — the convenience of online shopping and the connections that in-store experiences bring.
As a retail outlet operator, it falls on you to meet your customers where they’re at and give them avenues to make purchases according to their own terms. Once we’ve conquered this pandemic and have done away with social distancing protocols, people are going to come running back to you because of how you have adapted to the changes and not resisted it.