It’s hard to ignore that e-commerce shopping has exploded over the past few years and has caused consumers to take advantage of the trend. Thanks to the online retailer giants like Amazon, it’s become the social norm to order things with the click of a button and have it at our doorsteps within a few hours. We avoid the traffic and the effort of trying to find what we’re looking for, save money on gas, and get free shipping. Online shopping has even reached our grocery stores allowing us to skip the crowds on a busy Sunday afternoon. So, with all this online shopping, companies should be making even more money as they utilize endless opportunities to reach consumers at their fingertips, right? Dozens of companies including Toys R Us are blaming the e-commerce explosion for their failure and bankruptcy. The question remains: are brick and mortar stores dying?
CNN reported that in 2017 a total of 6,700 brick and mortar stores closed across the United States which was an all-time record high. More and more retailers are starting to panic as foot traffic is decreasing and sales are dropping, but not all retailers are having this problem. Here are a few tactics successful stores are using with both e-commerce and brick and mortar stores.
Making the Experience a Memorable One
Depending on the product or industry, some customers prefer to shop at the store versus online due to the personal experience they receive. Give your customers an experience that makes them want to make the journey to your store. Shoppers rush to Costco on a busy Saturday morning for their abundance of free delicious samples. At Nordstrom, it’s the excellent customer service shoppers receive from sales reps that draw customers in. Find your niche and become known for it.
Managing Online Direct Response Experiences
Millennials are brand loyal shoppers with a lot of purchasing power who seek emotional connections with the brands they frequent. What successful brick and mortars have done to target millennials and keep up their foot traffic is maintaining a large social media presence. Companies like Nike and Apple have utilized social media to provide promotional and engaging content for users which allows them to have a large presence online while keeping successful brick and mortar stores open. When companies maintain a social media audience online it keeps their brand top of mind and connected to consumers.
Focus on Giving Your Customers What Online Shopping Can’t
While we can all agree online shopping is much more convenient, brick and mortar shopping does present some benefits that online shopping can’t compete with. Even with Amazon’s free 2-day shipping, customers still have to wait to receive their purchased goods versus receiving them immediately in store. When entering a store, shoppers can use all their senses like tasting, touching and smelling allowing them to develop an attachment as they decide whether or not to buy a product. Retailers should hone in on their strengths such as same day pick up, hands-on experience, quick returns, and in-store promotions to compete against the advantages of online shopping.
The Future of Brick and Mortar
Brick and mortar stores are not dead; they just have more competition than they used to. As with any business, having the best marketing strategy to address these new challenges is important as you compete against other brands. Utilize digital marketing and social media to engage with customers, but also give them something valuable that they can only experience when they shop at your store.
About The PM Group: The PM Group was founded in 1988. Over the past 30 years, the agency has continued to grow and is currently listed as San Antonio’s Largest Advertising Agency by the San Antonio Business Journal. The PM Group’s client roster spans numerous industries including automotive, CPG, entertainment and sports marketing, legal, business services, non-profit, real estate and fitness. In addition, the agency hosts an annual Charity Gala every February that to date has raised over $3 million for local San Antonio area non-profit organizations in the last 15 years! It is our way of giving back to the community that we so humbly serve.