Over the past decade, the headlines have been filled with stories of traditional and long-standing retail companies succumbing to the pressures they faced from eCommerce businesses. This disruption has led to significant changes in the retail landscape with major players now struggling for profits and closing stores throughout the country. So, should businesses pack it in or simply change their strategy to cater to the new needs of a customer? All is not lost, and retail businesses might even see their revenue and brand awareness skyrocket through the eCommerce boom.
Many savvy retail businesses have adapted to the competition and are now strategically moving to ensure their survival in this new environment. Using tools like MYOB retail software and updating their business processes, retail businesses are starting to fight back and compete with eCommerce companies.
If you are in retail and want to explore some means of ensuring that you will be able to see growth in the coming years, then let’s look at some of the ways that retail businesses are competing with the eCommerce boom. Are you ready to get ahead?
Shift Your Focus To The Customer
In the face of intense competition from eCommerce outlets, it can be tempting to place all of your energies and resources on fighting this trend with any available tools. However, this will only make matters worse if it causes you to lose sight of what is important.
Making sure that the customer experience is at the heart of everything you do will help keep people coming back, and is a great yardstick to measure whether a decision is worth pursuing or not. Since it is simply too convenient to pass up when it comes to buying from an eCommerce outlet, you need to think outside of the box to get people to enjoy shopping in your store and regularly returning. Some retailers are experimenting with in-store giveaways to promote their stores. Others are inviting celebrities to appear in their brick-and-mortar outlets in order to garner attention and get people interested. Typically these strategies will serve your ‘acquisition’ or ‘retention’ goals, so be clear on what you are trying to achieve.
Loyalty cards are also time-tested tools that have been popular with retailers for years. If you have not explored this tool as a means of building a reliable customer base, then it is worth considering.
Engage With Your Customers
Customer satisfaction also needs to incorporate engagement to ensure that people have a better idea of what your business is all about. Many businesses have realised that one of the disadvantages of eCommerce is its impersonality, as nothing quite compares to a meaningful exchange. When it comes to retail stores, on the other hand, face-to-face interactions with customers occur all of the time.
Making sure that these interactions are positive and memorable will provide you with an edge that is useful in keeping eCommerce competitors at bay. Review how you engage with your customers in person, and see if there is another you can fine-tune so that your customers wish to keep returning to you for this experience again and again. If you are looking to expand into eCommerce in the near future, start thinking of innovative ways that you can impart your personality to your online customers.
Use The Best Parts Of eCommerce
Making sure to join your competitors in the online space is also important. While you may not offer your full product line from your website, it is important to remain engaged in social media and to keep your pages updated. A stale web presence that is not capturing the essence of your brand or product offering does not serve you in any way, and your audience will pay attention to this poor output and seek services elsewhere. This will provide users with an alternative source for their favourite products when they are conducting online searches and will give you an opportunity to compete with key competitors.
Many retail businesses are recognising the importance of maintaining an active social media presence and are pushing forward with digital marketing efforts to highlight the continued relevance of their brands. After all, you have no idea what stage of the consideration process your audience is at and what content will push them to a conversion. Think of your digital efforts as another way to attract physical and online customers respectively.
Keep Prices Competetive
While you may not be able to enjoy the profit margins that you used to before the eCommerce boom, you can still ensure that you will stay profitable by keeping your prices competitive against your online rivals. Many retail businesses are shifting their pricing strategies to account for the eCommerce boom. Losing the battle for convenience to eCommerce is inevitable and so maintaining comparable prices is all the more important. That said, put some consideration into your prices as it is easy to drop prices, but much harder to raise them and expect your customers to start paying more than they were.
There are a lot of factors that determine the ideal price, such as competitor pricing and product supply. If your product is available in many other places through many competitors, you might not have a case for expensive prices. Limited supply and competitors will give you more control in setting a price. Appreciate where you are on the spectrum and start pricing accordingly.
Stay Tuned For More Developments
This is just a start, but by no means all we will see from the eCommerce boom. The future is online, and retail businesses can have a slice of that success if they stay vigil with their efforts.
The battle between retail businesses and eCommerce outlets continues these days. While there may be an equilibrium where both models can exist side-by-side, the competitiveness only seems to be increasing as time goes on. Following these developments closely and spotting what strategies are helping retail businesses will allow you to keep your own small or medium-sized business stable for the coming years. There is no reason why you can’t stay competitive and even piggyback on the eCommerce boom altogether.