In today’s online world, competing with online sellers can be really tough for bricks and mortar shops. The ability to jump online and make a purchase instantly can be really enticing for individuals, and sales reflect this.
Want some stats? We’ve got them. According to a recent article in the Financial Post, “a study by Boston Consulting Group noted that in 2010 only 3.4% of all retail sales in Canada were made online, but that is projected to rise to 5.3% by 2016.” The article went on to say that of the $454 billion the entire Canadian retail sector made in 2010, only $18 billion came from online sales – but it is predicted that this will increase with the sale of tablets and smartphones.
So are bricks and mortar stores on their way out? The article says no way. Whether you own a unique mom and pop shop or a multi-location franchise, many people still crave that one-on-one human interaction when shopping. They also like to be able to see and feel and try on and test the merchandise before they purchase – and this isn’t going to change. What will change is the expected level of customer service and overall customer experience that consumers are looking for upon entry.
Really? Does this really influence an individual’s choice to shop at a particular location or store? Absolutely! Ramping up customer service can mean huge ROI. Making sure that your employees are knowledgeable and fluent in the language of your brand, that your store is well staffed, and that product is available and on the floor have a major impact when people shop.
Can bricks and mortar stores ignore the internet outright? Sure, if you just want to rely on traditional forms of advertising and word of mouth. But the Financial Post warns that those organizations choosing to do so will find themselves at the back of the pack. Try balancing your in-store presence with one online through social media.
If you own a bricks and mortar retail location, make sure that you are taking into account the impact of online sales on your bottom line. Make sure that your customer experience levels are on par with your brand image and the service you want to provide.
For more information about how bricks and mortar stores can compete with online retailers, please contact Storesupport today by calling 1-877-421-5081 or visit us online at www.storesupport.ca.