August 1, 2016
For a successful company, every platform, every avenue is a sales opportunity. A retail business cannot afford to bury their head in the sand any longer, so whether you are a charming seaside boutique or a large departmental store, you need to have an omnichannel sales strategy, which involves providing a seamless buying experience to customers.
For instance, today’s customer comes across your products on social media, goes to your website on a smartphone, browses products on a tablet, orders on a computer and then collects the product from your physical location. The customer may decide to buy at any stage, and should be able to do it. But implementing such a strategy might be hard, so here are three tips to help.
Social Media Integration
We spend 11 hours per day online, 1.72 hours of which are spent on social media – 28 percent of the total online time. 24 percent of teenagers say they are online “all the time”, but still notably behind millennials, as 36 percent of them are “always” online:
They key message here is that a lot of people are online, and they are spending huge amounts of that time on social media. A lot of ecommerce platform builders like Magento, Shopify and WooCommerce offer multiple sales channels that include social media platforms. Some of the most popular ones include POS (Point of Sale), Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest buy buttons, and buy buttons on your site or blog.
With these buttons and shopping options, customers can buy right off the social media page or a blog, which means fewer pit stops and barriers to complete a purchase. With these buttons, you can treat every avenue as a possible sales magnet.
And, of course, “integration” means your social media network presence should find prominent and error-free presence on your website. This is easily done these days using a DIY website builder such as Spaces – see how apparel retailers have built ready-to-sell integrated websites here.
Unified Payment and Loyalty System
Placing kiosks at retail shops and malls is now common practice, but they are everywhere. You may even have found out about a product at promotion kiosks and bought off something at product-dispensing kiosks. However, having a fancy kiosk placed in a central location is just half the job done. The other half begins by providing a unified payment and loyalty system over all channels – including kiosks.
Target piloted wellness kiosks which included medical devices such as blood pressure monitor, heart rate monitor, and others. They then send the customers’ information to their smartphone, for record keeping and, based on these records, customers receive health advice and information on wellness products (which are sold at Target, of course).
This is an example showing that it is a good idea to invest in kiosk software, that shows targeted offers to customers based on their loyalty or entry cards, allows customers to pay with bitcoins, PayPal or any other way they want, and remembers preferences across all customer touchpoints in all your physical stores as well as online. With this, your customers get a personalized shopping experience, no matter which part of the world they are shopping in.
Bluetooth Beacons, Nearables and Stickers
Beacons pack a powerful retail experience in its compact frame. They are a complex web of cloud computing, mobile technology and retail business and, while they have not revolutionized retail as it was once believed they would, they still bring added sales at minimal expense and investment.
Duane Reade, now owned by Walgreens, introduced iBeacons in order to offer its customers timelier pill reminders, product info and appointment scheduling. While approaching select Duane Reade store locations, customers see lock screen notifications with coupon offers based on historical data and product reviews for timely content at the point-of-decision.
While in-store beacons that interact with apps on your customers’ phone might not yet be your cup of tea if you are a small retailer, you could start by setting up a free Wi-Fi hotspot in your store and use hotspot software from providers such as Antamedia to collect customer data, get feedback or opinions with survey, offer coupons, interact with them on social media, or let them log in to your portal to make transactions.
The conclusion is that, to beat the competition and want customers to get up from their couch and head into your store, you have to give them a wow experience that they cannot get on their phones, along with the same convenience they can get. If you successfully manage to do that, your business will surely thrive.
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