The retail sector is currently in a state of flux. E-commerce and online shopping has taken an impact on big-box retail and malls across the country. Then we have the pandemic that had a tremendous negative impact on retail especially in states like California and New York. With so many changes taking place, it can be difficult to keep up with the latest trends in order to stay relevant. What do retail owners need to know? In this blog post, we will discuss three different ways retailers are trying to reinvent themselves and stay competitive in today’s changing market.
Strategy One: Reinvent the Shopping Experience
Retailers are trying to find ways to reinvent their business models, from interior design and in-store displays to new shopping technologies. Retailers like JC Penney have been making efforts for decades now to update their stores with modern fixtures and technology. They’ve also made strides toward a more customer-centric experience by using things such as online catalogs, mobile apps, and an emphasis on social media interaction that lets people know about events happening at nearby JCPenney locations. All of these changes come together to create a retail environment that is both interactive and welcoming; it encourages customers to not only feel good when they walk into the store but stay there longer than they might otherwise.
It’s not enough for them to be clean and functional anymore; they have to make an effort to give customers a reason, beyond the promise of lower prices or better deals, that makes it worth spending time in those spaces. If retail spaces are just places where we go out of necessity rather than desire then their appeal will wane over time as shopping habits change. As more people gravitate toward online retailers like Amazon there is going to come to a point when brick-and-mortar stores can no longer rely on physical retail space alone for success; they need something unique that appeals specifically to today’s shoppers if they want to stay competitive with other types of businesses. Integrating in-store technology to create a more interactive experience for customers is also key such as touch screens to find items, augmented reality to view themselves in various scenarios, and virtual fitting rooms. They would be an expansion to the online experience and leverage data to where employees already have their info and can pick up to provide a seamless experience for the customer. Ensure there is no friction in this process!
Strategy Two: A Social Media Presence is a MUST
It’s time for retail spaces to evolve and adapt to today’s shoppers’ needs and expectations. Retailers will need to start thinking outside of the box in order to stay competitive, attract new customers, and sell products effectively. One way this can be done is through integrating social media channels into their brick-and-mortar stores strategy. For example, retailers could use thematic posts on Instagram from shoppers about products they like or take pictures when someone purchases something at an in-store kiosk which then gets shared over Facebook Live by employees during work hours while the customer shops around the store (something that would have never happened before smartphones). This type of engagement not only generates more in-store foot traffic but also allows retailers to pinpoint what products are selling the best and offers them another opportunity for cross-promotion.
Lidl is a European grocery store that has seen tremendous success both domestically and abroad by using this strategy of integrated social media channels into their brick-and-mortar stores. They partnered with Facebook to create an app where users can upload coupons from Lidl’s mobile site when they purchase something at one of its retail locations. This type of mobile integration has been a huge success for the company’s brick-and-mortar stores and it is one that other retailers can replicate. Fighting online shopping is a thing of the past, embracing it means success for in-store strategy as well.
Strategy Three: Cater to your Location Demographics
A move to digital and social media marketing is essential for retail property owners. But before you dive in, it’s important to consider the demographics of your location. Know what type of customer is near your store or office space? Do they have a high-income level? What about education levels? If there are any major cultural shifts happening nearby, this information should be incorporated into your strategy as well. In addition to understanding who lives around you, make sure that you know how many people visit during certain times of day (or night). We’re not talking about basic site selection and average demo counts here, we’re talking deep dive and inventory management for existing locations. Know your customers’ social and online habits to better reflect their needs in store.
For example, there are two successful clothing chains in New York: Zara and H&M. Both companies offer trendy clothes at affordable prices but they tailor their inventory based on what area of town they are located in (Zara focuses primarily on uptown Manhattan while H&M targets downtown). These types of strategies not only help bring foot traffic into these locations but also generate word-of-mouth publicity from customers who visit both stores after discovering this “secret” about each store through social media. You need to know what types of products will be successful in your location as well as who is going to buy them so you can tailor certain portions for those customers. For example, if you have a store in an affluent suburb catering exclusively towards families with young kids then make sure that there are plenty of toys and clothes geared towards this age group on display both inside and outside the store.
Delight your customers! Knowing your customers and the trends in your area is important now than ever! This will help determine if email campaigns would work better than Facebook ads at different hours. With these three strategies incorporated into an SEO plan tailored specifically for retailers, you will be set to succeed in relation to your competition who will inevitably struggle with the evolving changes in the market.
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