While the rise of e-commerce retail will certainly press on, brick-and-mortar retailers will still have a unique, competitive edge that only face-to-face interaction with consumers can offer. Here are a few personal accounts from the OFFPRICE team that reveal the power of physical stores.
The other day I was shopping with my boyfriend, trying to help him expand his wardrobe and invest in a new pair of fashionable jeans. When I found the perfect pair of slim-fit pants that weren’t “too stylish” for his taste, but he didn’t seem impressed. As we browsed around the store, the salesperson helping us suggested a pair they thought would work for him—the same pair I suggested! Except this time, my boyfriend was ready to try them on. And guess what? He bought them.
Customers still see store staff—especially in specialty stores—as a fashion authority. Shoppers who might not trust their own opinions when shopping online, are more likely to buy a product when a salesperson makes a recommendation based on the consumer’s style preferences, body type, current trends, and more.
I value brick-and-mortar because my favorite store always has something new on the racks, that I normally wouldn’t have tried on. The owner will always give her honest opinion, and recommend something else if needed. If I’m not sure about a product, she’ll tell me: “Just give it a go.” And she’s usually right!
There’s a surprise element with shopping physical stores that online storefronts can’t always offer. Whether it’s trying on something new to your wardrobe, or grabbing a small add-on at the counter, brick-and-mortar leaves room for discovery. When shopping small, you can always bet on uncovering unique items, and getting a taste of any upcoming trends as well.
I was shopping a few local Main Street boutiques with a friend a few weeks ago. While we were checking out, the owner of the store we were in suggested we take a look next door as well. She let us know they were hosting a clearance event and serving coffee and snacks for all customers. “Wow, that was really nice of her to recommend another boutique,” I thought.
But, then again, many boutiques grow their consumer base by word-of-mouth referrals. Retailers that not only have exceptional customer service, but have strong relationships with other retailers in their community will stand out and continue to thrive from new traffic.
Online shopping can be a big gamble—will it fit right? Is there free shipping? What if it gets lost in the mail? My personal irritant is: What is the REAL color? Computer screens can be deceiving. I often find myself window shopping online, but going to the store to check out the product in-person. Most of the time, I’m way off in what I like online vs. in-store, and find better deals (and fits!) when shopping brick-and-mortar. The employees are basically your personal shoppers—you can’t get that online!
Make sure your store has plenty of natural lighting, so shoppers can see your beautiful merchandise in its truest form. One way that many brick-and-mortars are offering loyal customers a quick preview is through product emails. Try teasing your new arrivals, seasonal deals, or top-sellers through email, and featuring them front-and-center in-store for customers who you’ve drawn in.
The only reason I go to a store is because of the owner. I love getting to know them and uncovering their brand story, and learning more about what they’re trying to do with their business in our community. There’s a creativity or vibe in physical stores that doesn’t always come across in e-commerce.
Many shoppers are more willing to spend a few extra dollars if they know the cause (or people) they’re supporting with their wallets. The “shop local” movement will continue to thrive because people still value the human connection, and love rallying behind other people they personally know—something you can’t find staring into the cold screen.
I’ve had several bad experiences buying online—it’s not for everyone! I prefer to shop brick-and-mortars so I can touch, feel, and see merchandise before I buy it. When you buy from e-commerce stores, you don’t always have enough details from the product images or descriptions to be satisfied with your purchase when it arrives.
Online product pages can be tricky, and if e-tailers don’t get it right, they’re going to have to make up for lost profits through returns. Even more costly, are disgruntled or unsatisfied customers that you’ve lost. Brick-and-mortar retailers should encourage their shoppers to try-on in-store to find their best fit, and call-out any unique details, hidden pockets, reversible fabric, or other features the customer may not have noticed.
For affordable, one-of-a-kind finds for your brick-and-mortar customers, join us for the next OFFPRICE Show, February 3-6, 2020, at the Sands Convention Center in Las Vegas. Start buying OFFPRICE products now at www.offprice365.com. For questions, reach out to Mikaela at 262-754-6906 or firstname.lastname@example.org.