Photo by Lukas Hartmann

There has been a constant shift in how businesses function, which is attributed to the rise in online usage. With almost everyone becoming dependent on online transactions, are retail businesses going away anytime soon?

The 21st century encompasses the Information Age. It’s the era marked by rapid adoption and the continuous improvement of society through new technologies. It can’t be opposed. Society is indefinitely living at a time when technology is everywhere and is the most significant contributor to civilization. Wherever people look and whatever they’re doing, technology is more likely to be included in their routines. This doesn’t only include systematic improvement through the development of devices but also the growth of the internet’s usage.

As everything has become highly accessible online, most corporations have leveraged this for their growth. In between creating websites and utilizing digital marketing to improve their sales and online reputation, there has been an increase in what the online system has contributed to the definition of company success. Online has undoubtedly made most transactions convenient, changing consumers’ in-store experience. Considering these factors, will this signify that people might expect retail businesses to close down physical operations soon?

Retail Businesses Apocalypse

Recently, the news that GAP will be closing soon to focus on e-commerce has shaken the industry. This information alone may have redefined the structure that retail businesses have believed to work and followed for years. Although there still exists countless stores on the street, there has also been a significant number of brands that have shut their stalls to focus on running their E-Commerce, exclusively running their businesses online.

With these numbers, it’s easy to believe in the misconception that physical retail is gradually dying. However, while e-commerce is undoubtedly growing, offline sales remain bigger than online sales. While the latter provides convenience, the former’s customer experience remains unmatched. From saving shipping costs and having the chance to quality check and examine products, perhaps, it’s easy to say that physical retail prevails. But this doesn’t mean businesses don’t have to exert effort in attracting customers offline.

Attract and Maintain Customers Physically

Consumers’ purchasing patterns might change depending on their circumstances, and there’s an evident change between companies’ strategies for attracting customers online and offline.

In-Store Pick Up

One of the primary reasons consumers prefer physical transactions is that this saves them from additional fees like shipping and package fees. While online transactions are more convenient, given they don’t need to travel, they can still incur more costs. Hence, companies can provide them with the advantage of both instead of forcing them to choose between online and offline transactions. Consumers can choose, reserve or purchase their items online but are also given the option to pick these items offline, given that the cost of transportation is cheaper than the shipping. This also allows them to examine the items personally, giving them a chance to return them if unsatisfied with the quality.

If there’s only a little difference between shipping cost and what they’ll be spending if they pick items up, consumers might hesitate to push through with the transaction. Companies can offer incentives beyond the free pick-up to persuade them. They could provide discounts for store pick-ups, so customers save more.

SMS Promotions

Retail businesses execute numerous strategies and web traffic digital technologies to increase traffic and interactions in their online stores. This increases the chance that online users encounter and engage with their websites, turning visits into purchases, thus increasing their sales. Regarding offline transactions and businesses, companies can send out messages to target possible consumers.

Businesses can execute retargeting, sending messages or online ads to customers interested in their products. This ensures that consumers will be reminded of the stores they’ve visited or the products they’ve just viewed. Compared to emails, which can remain unopened, and ads that are easily scrolled past, SMS messaging is one of the surest ways for companies to reach out to their customers while ensuring their messages get read. This strategy can be done occasionally, offering these individuals limited deals if they visit the stores.

Host Events

Company-Client relationships in the business field shouldn’t be limited to transactions. There must be connection and entertainment. Retail businesses shouldn’t limit to commercial goods what they offer their consumers when they can do more. This can be achieved by companies hosting events related to what the company specializes in and inviting the audience to their stores.

For instance, a clothing store can host fashion shows where people from the community can wear and display their garments. This creates an unpretentious and pleasant atmosphere in the store, making them a relatable brand to the locals.

Loyalty Programs

Coffee shops have these stamp events, where buyers purchase a drink, and they’re given a stamp with the possibility of winning a limited item. This might seem like a simple event, but it increases the chances of customers returning in hopes of winning the item. Companies can execute the same process of promising loyal customers something in return. This not only makes them return the item but also makes them feel valued and seen as customers. With some creativity, these incentives will encourage these individuals to return and continue transacting with the store among their competitors and other local options.

These incentives don’t even have to be expensive. As long as it will make customers feel valued, they will continue to be motivated and visit the store physically than scroll past them online.

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