According to the latest available data, 71% of customers are expecting to view the in-store inventory online, and 50% would like to buy online and pick-up from store1. According to another set of data, more than half (55%) of shoppers who buy online, would prefer to purchase from a retailer with a physical store over an online-only merchant2. Research shows that 56% of consumers use mobile device to research products at home, 38 percent use it to check inventory availability while on their way to a store and 34 percent use a mobile device to research products while in a store.
So what does this mean?
This indicates that more number of people prefer to shop in-store, but are looking for integrated online experience. Most of the consumers are going online to research about product(s) that is not available in-store due to lack of information with the in-store sales representatives. They are also using the online platforms to compare costs of products in the market and going for the lowest available purchase. Customers are dissatisfied when they do not receive proper response from the people in-store to their queries made about specific product(s) or if the stock is unavailable and the store is unable to provide any information about it. This often encourages the customer to visit a competitor store and make purchase(s).
Can we bring the online experience in-store to further enhance the in-store experience for the buyers? Can we stop the revenue from flowing into one’s competitor's kitty?
Here are a few things we could do to help store associates increase store revenues and enhance in-store customer experience:
- Create product catalogues that provide real-time product details, videos, images, product reviews and ratings.
- Enable real-time inventory checks to allow store representatives to check availability of a product, its alternate pick-up or shipment locations, and/or reserve items in another store.
- Help provide recommendations to customers in terms of substitutions, cross sell/upsell/, and other recommendations.
- Equip store representative with 360 view of a customer on a multi-channel platform. Brand preferences, wish list, purchase history, social activity, order values and engagement history are some of the important things a representative should have an access to.
- Provide good in-store mobility to enable sales representative to access required information at any given point of time.
By empowering store representatives, retailers can bring online experience' to stores and enhance customer experience. This will further strengthen consumers' faith in and preference for physical stores.
What do you think? Share your views with us.