It is commonly believed that the retail sector is in constant decline and that the race to develop an online store has become inevitable. But is it really so? Are traditional store destined to disappear definitively in a few years? Obviously not, we find out why!
If you are one of the still many people who usually buy in traditional store do not worry, the shop under the house, made by experts who can ask for advice before making the purchase, will continue to exist for a long time. Just think of how the giants of retail and e-commerce are increasingly recognizing the importance of the traditional store. To be honest, one of the biggest retail chains, Carrefour, has already introduced the neighborhood market, Carrefour Express, to meet all the daily spending needs of its customers.
In e-commerce, on the other hand, the two big names like Amazon and Alibaba (the Chinese Amazon) are oriented towards the development of physical stores. Amazon, for example, has developed Amazon GO a completely new way of shopping, always open and without cash at the exit. Alibaba has instead allied itself with Auchan to bring its e-commerce experience to the Chinese stores belonging to the French group. Therefore, it is not the physical store, understood as a way of making purchases, which is in crisis but how the latter approaches its customers and their purchasing process (customer journey).
Numerous statistics reveal how more than 90% of purchases go through some form of interaction on the internet (direct or indirect search for a product, engagement through sponsored, content generated by other consumers such as opinions / reviews or influencers).
So what really changed is consumers’ approach to buying, especially in millennials. On the one hand we find the e-commerce portals that know their customers very well , know what they buy or what they would like to buy (wish list or wish list), every time they make purchases, know their tastes, help them during the shopping phase. purchase by offering them similar products or products that may be of interest to them, offer them customized discounts to increase the loyalty rate and offer very satisfactory customer service (especially for return or refund policies).
On the other hand we find instead the traditional store that treats customers in a passive way, trying to get more sales and no more customers, it does not create value for its brand, it merely publishes posts on social channels (Facebook or Instagram) without developing targeted engagement strategies, it does not take care of its customers except in the moment of the sale and does not create relationships with its customers. And it is precisely here that physical stores are losing their battle, in the attention and care of their customers’ needs.
How to survive e-commerce?
Being able to survive the giants of electronic commerce is possible but requires commitment, resources and innovation / reinvention, not only technological. One of the most frequented paths by many retailers and retailers is the development of a personal e-commerce portal or sales through a marketplace (Amazon and EBay above all).
This has caused a double negative effect, on the one hand, they neglect the development of the traditional store to dedicate more resources to the development of the electronic one, ending up losing more and more the contact with their customers, on the other, not having the skills and the resources necessary for the development of a professional online store, they are limited to using it as a very common online catalog, thinking that it can sell by itself. Obviously, the risk of not getting the desired results is very high, thus ending up abandoning online sales and increasing the number of failing e-commerce (about 34% in 2017).
What to do then? First, retailers should return to dealing with what they do best, selling inside their traditional store without obviously neglecting the technological aspect. As mentioned a few lines above, one of the most common mistakes is to treat customers passively, focusing on getting more sales and not getting more customers. The right key is to develop strategies aimed at creating a strong brand that is able to become the reference point for local customers and that, the point of sale / brand, remains imprinted in their mind when they need to buy that particular product.
6 tips to reinvent the physical store
As we said, the physical store is still the reference point for many people, even for those who often prefer to buy their products online. Retailers who do not recognize that the old way of doing business has become obsolete are destined to find themselves increasingly in difficulty.
Reinventing the physical store thus becomes essential in order to survive, both in e-commerce and with other competitors, but how can we do it?
- Become more than just a point of sale;
- Make the shopping experience unique and special,
- Identify your strengths and emphasizes,
- Take advantage of technology by integrating innovative solutions,
- Make 1 + 1 equal 3,
- Take care of your customers even when they are not in your store.
Do you want to reinvent / revitalize your physical store? Find a proper solution targeted to your business.