A recent survey by Local Search Association found that 54 percent of consumers prefer to visit brick-and-mortar stores to make their purchases while 46 percent opt to make their buys via desktop, mobile app, or voice controlled device. However, of the shoppers who spend money in physical shops, 82 percent research potential purchases online before hitting the checkout counters, and 56% of online shoppers sometimes visit stores to check out potential purchases before adding the products they want to virtual shopping carts and hitting the “buy” button.
In short, today’s consumers are omnichannel shoppers; they want to be able to incorporate the benefits of in-store shopping and the convenience of online shopping into one seamless experience. Here are five ways you, as a small business owner, can increase in-store sales by helping your customers get the omnichannel shopping experience they want.
Offer Free Wi-Fi
When an omnichannel shopper needs new bed sheets, they don’t want to make their way to the store and be standing in front of their many options only to find out that they‘re standing in a Wi-Fi dead zone. These smart shoppers want to browse product reviews and item descriptions in real time. They want to determine which style and thread count vs. investment option will make them most satisfied with their purchase.
More than 60 percent of small businesses report that free Wi-Fi draws more customers to their stores, in many cases boosting profits. If you haven’t done so already, it’s time to talk to your internet service provider. Create a dedicated, stand-alone network to offer Wi-Fi to your customers without putting your company’s sensitive data at risk.
Equip Your Staff With Tablets
Omnichannel shoppers know how to search the Internet for details pertaining to their potential purchases. Therefore, they’re used to honing in on the information they want to know about a product quickly. When these shoppers visit a brick-and-mortar store to make a purchase, they expect the sales staff to be knowledgeable enough to offer them the fine details about a product quickly as well.
If your in-store sales staff do nothing more than stand at cash registers processing transactions, they’re falling short. Instead, equip them with portable devices that allow them to wander the store and assist customers as they’re shopping. Allowing your sales staff to use tablets as show-and-tell devices influences the micro-moments of purchasing decisions. This could be the difference in whether an omnichannel shopper makes a purchase at your store or goes elsewhere.
Offer In-Store Pick-Up And Returns of Items Purchased Online
Several driving factors lead omnichannel shoppers to visit brick-and-mortar stores. First, shoppers want the satisfaction of being able to obtain their products right away. Second, they want the convenience of being able to quickly return or exchange products that don’t quite meet their expectations. These shoppers don’t want to order a new outfit online and wait for its delivery only to find out that the clothes don’t fit and will need to be shipped back to the company they were purchased from.
Allow your customers to purchase products from your website and pick-up or return them in-store. In this manner, you’ll build trust with omnichannel shoppers. And once these shoppers are drawn into your store, 40 percent of them will sometimes purchase other things while picking up or returning their purchases.
Include Stock Numbers In Online Product Descriptions
If an omnichannel shopper has taken the time to research a product they’ve found on your website, they expect it to be sitting on one of your store shelves once they get there. Finding a product they want and making the trip to get it only to find out it’s out of stock is frustrating to these tech-savvy consumers.
Your online product descriptions should include in-store stock numbers so your customers never have to deal with this unfortunate dilemma. Furthermore, with out-of-stock items, consider including information on when you expect to have the product in stock again. You can also offer recommendations for similar products that may meet the shoppers’ needs.
Don’t Forget About Local Inventory Ads
Your company website isn’t the only place you should be listing your inventory. Google local inventory ads can have a big impact on drawing customers to your store.
When you register your inventory with this service, customers who are looking for a particular product can be directed to your store, even if they don’t know your store exists. For example, say a shopper in Tallahassee, Florida is looking for a pair of blue parachute pants. If she doesn’t know where to find them, she’ll likely input her request directly into the Google search engine. If your store happens to carry blue parachute pants and is in a relatively close proximity of this shopper, Google will offer the inventory information you’ve provided. Google will also let the shopper know how close your store is to them and how they can get there.
Few of today’s shoppers exclusively favor online or in-store shopping. Instead, they want to integrate both platforms into a single, super-convenient shopping experience. Use the information provided in this article to draw omnichannel shoppers to your storefront. Show show them that your business has embraced technology as much as they have.