In an increasingly digital world, you might not have considered that successfully growing a retail business could very likely involve taking your online operations into the real world. Yes, an online presence is crucial in adhering to consumer behavior and maximizing your reach, but if you are starting to see growth, there are a number of reasons as to why a brick and mortar store will result in continued success.
Whether it is to give your brand name a physical association, demonstrate the use of your products in real life, more effectively show off the nuances of your products, or just to give new and loyal customers a more personal experience, a brick and mortar store will mean higher customer engagement, satisfaction and loyalty.
With this in mind, here are some crucial tips and tricks that will determine the success of your move towards a real world business presence.
Don’t Forget About Tech
While taking your online store to the real world might sound like forgetting about tech, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Whether you want tech in your in-store displays and an interactive customer experience, in managing your stock, or anything in between, retail store tech is always improving – be sure to know what devices are going to help you in running your business offline.
In particular, many store owners even fail to consider the knowledge that comes with running a POS machine. Knowing the ins and outs of crucial elements of a physical store (like a POS terminal) won’t be hard – click here for a succinct and helpful guide on all you need to know about choosing and using a POS machine.
Focus on the Customer Experience
Whilst opening a physical store is difficult in itself, opening one that provides a unique, memorable and enjoyable customer experience can be tricky. It is an aspect of an offline store that many shop owners will overlook.
In creating a positive experience for customers, you want to consider everything from store design and branding, to store layout and unique points that might draw a crowd or give customers a reason to hang around.
This is a factor that will ensure your store is a talking point that encourages word of mouth and effectively convinces visitors to buy your products.
Integrate Your Other Marketing Efforts
An important aspect of opening a brick and mortar store is that you need to ensure you are utilizing omni-channel marketing correctly. This means integrating your physical store with your online store, and promoting them together across your marketing channels. The goal of omni-channel marketing is to ensure a seamless experience across all channels, from one point of contact to the next.
This is important in everything from store design and branding, to how the content across your digital channels compliments your business. Even something as simple as including physical store details on a web page on your site, and then promoting your online presence in store can be considered an aspect of omni-channel marketing.
Consider Giveaways and Events
A benefit to opening a physical store is that you can implement physical giveaways and events that allow for customer participation and inclusion. The opportunity to win a free product is a great way to attract customers, particularly during the early stages of your physical store.
Business owners are often quick to avoid the idea of a product giveaway – however, the shareability and visibility that a good giveaway event will provide are invaluable. This is a great way to spread awareness of your physical store (and brand as a whole) using online channels.
The success of in-store events will be maximized by a strong store design that includes areas dedicated to customer enjoyment, rather than purely sales.
Be Proactive in Dealing With Problems
While there are a number of benefits to opening a physical store (particularly if you already have an online audience), there are a few disadvantages too. With this being said, a proactive approach that has considered any issues you might run into, as well as how to tackle them, will minimize the impact they have.
For example, there is one of the most obvious problems you will face – hiring and paying staff. Depending on the size of your store, this could just be one person (even yourself), or it could be a number of people. This will depend on factors such as store size, warehousing and distribution needs, and the traffic your store sees.
Next, you’ll have to consider location expenses – rent may be significant, and you want to be sure that you’ll be able to run your physical store effectively in order to make a profit. Keep in mind that you could also be able to use this location as a place to run your online store, potentially justifying some of the cost.
Other problems that you might face could include limited store traffic, problems with inventory management (however you get the potential benefit of merging online and offline stock), and the potential need to be in a close proximity to your store, for management purposes.