We’ve been talking about the “Amazon Effect” and what it means for your brick and mortar store when it comes to competing with the big online retailers. The studies that show online retail dominating neighborhood shopping were, seemingly, shortsighted. In our last blog we talked about the advantages for local retailers when it comes to getting leads on new customers. Being able to partner with other local businesses to generate interest, build relationships, and serve the millennial’s desire to support the local economy is proving to be the preference that online retailers can’t touch.
The ability to generate leads and build interest in your local business makes customer acquisition, moving leads to the next step of the buyer’s journey, that much simpler.
When it comes to customer service, online retailers can do everything in their power to do better than you, but it simply will not happen because when it comes to customer satisfaction, nothing compares to human interaction. All customers have an expectation about what they expect of their relationship with a business. The Amazon Effect article cites a study that says “44% of online consumers say that having a live person answer questions while making an online purchase is key feature retailers can offer in the online experience”. Artificial intelligence and chat bots can simulate and experience and big data can make recommendations, but only a personal knowledge of a customer can truly identify their needs, ultimately leading to true customer satisfaction. Your employees have the ability to interact with customers, to read their facial expressions, hear the tone in their voice, and interpret other body language to build relationships that cannot be replicated by any amount of technology.
One result of the Amazon Effect is the sense of urgency that online retailers have perfected. You’ve undoubtedly received the “flash sale” emails and with Amazon Prime Day coming July 10 with it’s limited quantity, hourly specials, the FOMO is real.
Don’t count yourself out yet. If Black Friday tells us anything, it’s that people are willing to do a lot to save a dollar. Take advantage of this by trying the following to create urgency inside your store:
Not only do these help create a sense of urgency that rivals the online retailer’s ability, it allows you to build your customer lists and grow your online followings.
Another area online retailers have honed is subscription. Online retailers allow customers to purchase products they use at regular intervals. While this works for things like personal care items and creates a steady revenue stream, it overlooks the ability for customized recommendations based on the customer’s preferences. This is where your brick and mortar store can shine! Establish subscription services for general categories such as beers, essential oils, music, or any other high-level category. From there, work with your vendors to find unique offerings within that category for your subscribers, offering them variety and a chance to try something based on your product expertise. This is a good place to piggyback your limited edition special offerings; offer 10% off all purchases made when subscription products are picked up.
The Amazon Effect has certainly changed the way consumers make purchase decisions, but, despite short-term reports, it has not limited the ability for brick and mortar stores like yours to gain customers. Customers
have come to see what they are missing when purchasing online. Be ready to fill the gaps created that only a face-to-face interaction can produce. The advantage is yours. Get creative!