From CompUSA and Circuit City to Toys ‘R Us and Harold’s, countless retail businesses have been forced to close their doors in recent years. However, the retail industry is not going away anytime soon. According to Statista, most consumers prefer to shop locally in brick-and-mortar stores than online. To connect with these consumers and weather the recent market fluctuations, retail businesses are using the following tactics.
Some retail businesses are opening up stores in outlet centers to boost sales and revenue. Check out our Disney Store, Rawlings, Coleman, Orvis and more as more proof that big name retailers are pursuing this model. While traditional shopping malls are seeing fewer shoppers than in the past, outlet centers are seeing more. A survey of more than 2,500 U.S. consumers in 2016 found that more than one-quarter had visited an outlet store in the past 30 days. Outlet stores often offer better deals than traditional retail stores because they cut out the middle man, thereby making them popular among budget-conscious shoppers.
One of the biggest complaints by consumers who shop at local retail stores is the long, tedious checkout process. After choosing their products, shoppers must wait in line at a checkout register. Some retail businesses, however, are seeking to simplify the checkout process. Fortune reports that Walmart is developing a cashier-less store that allows shoppers to purchase products without checking out. Amazon launched a similar grocery store earlier this year. Known as Amazon Go, the Seattle-based grocery store automatically scans shoppers’ products while they are shopping.
Discount shopping is paving the way for a brighter retail market. Even if a retail business has a website, it may offer discounts that are exclusive to its local stores. These in-store discounts can often attract shoppers who would otherwise not visit the business’s store. Whether it’s a buy one, get one free offer or 10 percent off, consumers love to save money. By offering discounts exclusive for in-store use, retailers today are achieving greater success.
A key difference between retail shopping and e-commerce is that the former relies on positive customer interactions. If a shopper has a poor experience with a retail store’s staff, he or she will probably leave and never return. This has prompted many retail businesses to provide exceptional, personalized customer service.
A retail business’s brand is essential to its success. Even if a shopper doesn’t buy anything, he or she may still remember the business’s brand. So, the next time that person wants something sold by the business, he or she may visit its retail store. For this to happen, though, the retail business must create a positive, recognizable brand. Many retailers now use an omni-channel marketing strategy to achieve this goal. Rather than focusing on a single marketing channel, omni-channel includes multiple channels.
To better connect with millennials, retail businesses are developing and launching their own mobile apps. The Walmart app for Android and iOS devices allows shoppers to check the prices of products in store while they shop by scanning the barcode. If a shopper finds a product that’s missing a price tag, he or she can simply scan the barcode using the Walmart app to instantly check its price. The app also features the retail giant’s rewards program, Savings Catcher, allowing shoppers to receive store credit for select purchases. Some apparel retailers have developed mobile apps that allow shoppers to try on garments in a virtual environment. The apps work by displaying a digital image of a garment over the shopper’s body.
Not all retail stores will survive. Like all markets, some retail businesses fail while others succeed. But many successful retailers are using the tactics listed here to make a comeback.