A company’s retail strategy refers to the organization’s approach to promoting its products and its brand as a whole. This means, your retail strategy should also aim to immerse your target audience in the branded experience you intend to provide them.
Overall, your retail strategy should determine your approach to the five pillars of retail:
In this section, we’ll address the following questions:
Anyone aiming to succeed in the retail world needs to have a retail strategy.
Even those looking to just make ends meet and operate around the status quo of their industry won’t be able to reach this relatively low standard without a proper retail strategy in place. Taking an “if you sell it, they will come” approach in today’s highly-competitive climate breeds disaster.
Ask yourself: Is my goal to make one-off sales to passersby at unpredictable intervals? Or is it to create an active community of engaged consumers who are always looking to get more from your company?
First, starting an online retail business requires much less in terms of upfront investment. The need for a physical location and setup alone makes brick-and-mortar retail the more costly option from the get-go. Modern eCommerce platforms enable retailers to get their online stores up and running with relatively little investment.
Second, there are major differences between the customer experience of a physical retailer and that of an online store. Though brick-and-mortar stores can provide a more immersive sensory experience to the consumer, eCommerce stores must rely on providing a digital experience to site visitors.
(Note: One is not necessarily “better” than the other. It’s a matter of your customers’ expectations — and your ability to meet them.)
Third, in terms of “on the ground” operations, brick-and-mortar and online retail differs in a number of ways, such as:
Many — if not most — successful retailers understand that the modern consumer typically wants to experience both an in-person and virtual experience from the brands they do business with.
The first step, in this regard, is to go multi-channel. This means developing an immersive experience for both your brick-and-mortar and eCommerce customers, respectively.
The downside of multi-channel operations is that, as tailored as they are to the respective customer’s needs, both channels remain isolated from one another. Modern consumers want to experience your brand both on- and offline.
That said, you’ll want to go beyond mere multi-channel operations, and adopt an omnichannel approach to your retail business which means…
Not only is this an example of omnichannel retail, but it’s also a perfect example of a brand creating an online-to-offline experience for their customers.
Despite the convenience of online retailing, there’s no way to simulate the in-store experience via an eCommerce website. The next best thing is to nurture your online shoppers to your brick-and-mortar stores in some way — then immerse them in your brand’s overall experience once inside.
The ultimate goal is to meld the online and offline retail experience for your customers. The question is: How do you do it?
To answer this question, let’s break down the best practices of both ecommerce and brick-and-mortar retail.
No matter what industry or niche you operate in, your eCommerce website should follow a number of universal best practices:
What’s more, you’ll want to take full advantage of other digital channels (e.g., social media, podcasts, YouTube, etc.) to further immerse your online audience in your brand’s digital experience.
Ultimately, though, your goal should always be to drive your audience back to your website — and headed toward conversion.
The brick-and-mortar retail realm has changed considerably over the last few decades.
Since consumers, today, can quickly hop on the internet to make a purchase at their convenience, they no longer need to visit a physical retail store in order to do so.
Rather, your brick-and-mortar retail locations need to provide experiences that your audience cannot get elsewhere. In fact, many well-known retailers have started revamping their physical locations in order to do just that:
This isn’t to say that you should do away with the traditional aspects of brick-and-mortar retail completely. While you still want to allow customers to purchase your products as usual, your best bet is to also provide “a little extra something” for those looking to get more out of your in-store experience.