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Even before the coronavirus pandemic, running a brick-and-mortar store was challenging. The online threat was growing, and most people were giving up on the idea of physically traveling to the mall. It seemed like a waste of time.
Now, the case against brick-and-mortar is even more compelling than ever. So what can you do to survive? The trick is to make stores more convenient. Remember, we’ve had online shopping for more than a quarter-century now, ever since Amazon opened its online bookstore. Since then, we’ve seen massive growth in the online segment, but it still hasn’t overwhelmed the traditional sector.
That’s for three major reasons:
The trick here is for stores to make themselves more convenient. Here’s how to do it.
Do you want to attract more customers to your store? If so, you should invest in your parking lot. People don’t want to walk or cycle to your location. They want to be able to drive their cars right up onto the forecourt and get service immediately.
K&E Flatwork discusses the importance of this concept at length. They point out that if you don’t have a quality parking area for customers, they’ll go to a competitor. It is a critical point of differentiation between your firm and others.
We all know the reason people shop online – they want a bargain. But what happens if the only way to make big savings is to come into the store? Perhaps massive savings aren’t available online. In that case, people have no choice but to travel if they want to take advantage of big discounts.
If you have a sale, advertise it as in-store only. Make sure that you tempt people with plenty of high-margin products alongside all the usual bargains.
During pandemics, people don’t want to spend a lot of time in your store where they could potentially pick up a nasty disease. For that reason, all stores with physical premises should adopt click-and-collect services. With these, customers can simply arrive in your parking lot, collect their shopping outside, and then drive off with it safely in the car, without actually having to step foot inside.
For health and safety-conscious customers, approaches like this can help you corner the market. Remember, there are a lot of people out there who want goods immediately. You can grab these people by offering a safer alternative to the regular brick-and-mortar shopping experience.
Ultimately, when it comes to competing with the big online stores, convenience is the deciding factor. If you can make it easy for customers, they’ll be much more likely to go to you.