Technology's grip on the shopping industry is constantly tightening around retailers that are still operating from a physical space. Although it has become more difficult for these businesses to survive when they're up against giant e-commerce enterprises, the fight isn't over.
Future Stores, a conference arranged by Worldwide Business Research, discussed with and informed business owners on a range of topics including customer retention, loyalty, design, merchandising, technology and innovation. During the 2014 conference, retail professionals from several industries were surveyed to find trends in brick-and-mortar business strategy.
One of the major problems retailers are facing is a phenomenon called "showrooming." If you're unfamiliar, this is when customers use a brick-and-mortar store to check a product out, but then go home and order the item online. According to the survey, 87 percent of retailers are trying to embrace showrooming while 13 percent are attempting to fight back against the consumer habit.
There is definitely an industry-wide push for brick-and-mortar stores to integrate technology in a way that enhances their revenue stream and customer base. While it's relatively easy for a company to sell goods strictly on the Internet, the same isn't true for businesses that remain Web-anonymous. From social media accounts to online orders, there are several ways to incorporate technological advances into your company without taking on more than you can handle. According to the survey, 85 percent of retailers are investing in new technologies to work into their in-store business operations. Mobile and tablet capabilities make up a large chunk, 89 percent, of the ventures those businesses are exploring. Nearly 60 percent are investing in displays and kiosks for their physical space.
Customer is king
Another way to improve in-store experience is by incorporating customer shopping behavior into how you design the store. Survey results found that just over half of retailers, 59 percent, have been tailoring the store experience to the customer. Additionally, 61 percent of respondents reported trying different store arrangements and formats in recent months. Explore your options for display tables and store fixtures, then set the furniture up in a new and enticing way.
The real enemy is the Web
According to Customer Think, brick-and-mortar store owners should think of the Internet as another competitor and find ways to outdo it. While this may seem obvious, it can be easier to move past the vastness of the Web if you approach it with this mentality. Two ideas presented by the source are perfecting the human aspect of your store and invoking all five of the shoppers' senses.