Why not make giving your storefront a facelift one of your 2015 Resolutions? Declining foot traffic in traditional brick and mortar stores will continue to be a challenge in 2015. Online sales over the 2014 holiday shopping season were the highest on record despite the economic uncertainties felt throughout 2014. According to a recent study by research firm e-Marketer, e-commerce will continue to outpace overall expansion in retail in coming years as consumers shift spending from brick-and-mortar stores to web sites and mobile apps. Online sales will top $305 billion this year, representing 6.5% of all retail sales and expected to grow to 8.9% of all sales by 2018.
So how do smaller brick-and-mortar retailers hope to compete in an ever increasingly fragmented and competitive retail environment? It may be as simple as focusing on the aspects of the in-store experience that are not easily replicated through online channels. For years, e-commerce sites have been the “superstars” of personalization through custom recommendations, outfit suggestions, reminders about things you looked at but didn’t buy the list goes on, but is technology the only driver of retail success? Can a personal “thank you for shopping with us” replace a “thank you page”?
Innovating the in-store experience through personalization, lifestyle associations and engagement, will be key for small and large retailers alike in 2015 and beyond. Traditional retailers should place more emphasis on those “in-person” personal touches that allow for unique shopping experiences that inspire shoppers in ways e-commerce stores can’t. Signarama can help traditional retailers improve the in-store experience and set them apart from their online rivals.
Improving the In Store Experience
Brick-and-mortar retailers will need to pay more attention to optimizing store layouts and providing in-store experiences that are as much about improving the shopping experience as they are engagement and entertainment in 2015. Interactive digital displays, digital kiosks, as well as seasonal signage and point of sale displays can provide additional avenues for retailers to engage with customers while they are in the store. At Signarama, we work with retailers to craft interactive digital displays and kiosks that can highlight seasonal looks, product features, marketing messages, loyalty programs, in-store ordering and more. In addition to improving in- store experiences through interaction, retailers are looking for additional ways to keep shoppers in their stores longer by offering cafés, vending machines, seating areas with free Wireless access and mobile charging stations. Other avenues to explore are creative uses of traditional Point of Sale (POS) displays, lettering and graphics for windows, walls, shopping aisles and more.
In-store signage plays a critical role in the overall in-store experience communicating where shoppers can find what they are looking for, promoting offers and discounts as well as highlighting key attributes and product features. Successful retailers change in-store displays and signage based on specific “themes”; tying in events, contests and other in-store activities that leave shoppers wanting to come back to see what next week or month has to offer. Window decals, window and wall graphics, banners, vinyl letters and other traditional displays can be inexpensive ways to enhance your customer’s in-store experience and create a unique experience not easily replicated online.
Focus on the Personal in Person Touches
Focus more on customer interactions that deepen the existing customer relationship through interaction with store personnel. Remembering names, encouraging loyalty, giving key customers a call when you get a new order of their favorite product or something you think they just might like, can go a long way. Be sure your employees are incented for the right behavior, and view every customer interaction as an opportunity to strengthen the bond with your store or brand. Technology can help provide more personalization as more consumers utilize your free Wi-fi, through targeted offers based on past shopping experience, etc. but traditional polite, courteous customer service can always be a key differentiating factor between you and your competitors online or off. Customers want to feel their business and their opinions matter with their retailers of choice so encourage more listening at all levels. As a smaller retailer or sole proprietor you have a unique advantage over big box retailers in this area take advantage of your unique knowledge of the local market, its residents and what matters to them.
Personalization Through Technology
The days of one-size fits all marketing are coming to a close. Today’s brick-and-mortar retailers can use technology to add another layer of personalization to the in-store experience and enhance customer loyalty programs. The rise in use of mobile devices while in stores, makes it almost a requirement for retailers to offer in store free Wi-Fi. It’s not just about providing another value added service, retailers can use this to enhance communication with customers. Send special offers that encourage loyalty and increase in-store purchases, get feedback on new products, store layouts and more. Provide marketing messages and promotions to customers based on things you know they like, the possibilities are endless.
Signarama has been helping traditional brick-and-mortar retailers for over 27 years develop branding and signage solutions that increase street visibility and enhance the in-store experience. Our local sign experts partner with our customers to employ the right mix of digital and traditional point of sales displays, menu boards, signs, banners, window graphics and more to enhance the in-store experience for your customers!
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