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Enhance your edge over online shopping this season

Enhance your edge over online shopping this season

Store owners may be biting their nails this season in fear that more shoppers will choose to go online than visit brick-and-mortar locations. But there are many things that physical stores offer that mobile retailers simply can't match. Merchants would be wise to emphasize these in-store-only features in order to get the most out of holiday shopping this year. Here are some tips.

Let them touch, try and sample
By far, the number one advantage real life stores have over online retailers is the fact that their products can be touched, sampled and tried on. Shoppers love being able to try on an outfit before they buy, rather than having to rely on photos online. Emphasize this by putting your best-dressed adult and child mannequins in your store windows, and offer plenty of free samples if your wares allow. If you're worried that products like toys or kitchenware will get damaged by all the grabbing and touching, label a few with store signs that say "touch me," and put the rest somewhere safe.

Visual marketing at its best
Your physical retail space gives you marketing opportunities that online dealers simply don't have. You have the opportunity to grab the attention of passersby as they walk down the street, and you'd be remiss to pass it up. That's why you need to use all of your creativity to make eye-catching window displays. Pull out all the stops by using plenty of wholesale ribbon, colorful backdrops, noticeable store fixtures and anything else you think will make shoppers stop in their tracks.

Remember instant gratification
When a shopper purchases something online, he or she will not only have to pay for shipping, but also wait a few days for the product to arrive. When they visit a brick-and-mortar location, however, they are able to get their hands on their purchase right off the bat. Keep this in mind, and use store signs to push the idea. Create a banner that reads something like, "Why wait? Get this year's hottest items TODAY!"

Physical discounts rule
Online merchants are limited in the types of discounts they can offer – usually they can choose either free shopping or a certain percentage off a retail price. But physical stores can offer an array of fun discounts. Consider allowing shoppers to put small items in wholesale shopping bags, then charging per bag rather than per product.