Retailers: 3 Tips to Fight Back Against the E-commerce Threat

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If you’re a retailer, then you know that the last few years — or make that few decades — haven’t been a proverbial picnic or walk in the park. That’s because in addition to fending off brick-and-mortar competitors, you’re constantly being attacked by e-commerce businesses; including some that may have launched in the last few weeks and months.

However, rumors of the retail landscape’s demise at the hands of the e-commerce giant are greatly exaggerated! Many retailers are doing quite well — especially in industries like home improvement, deep discounting and premium goods — while others are holding their own and managing to survive. Are they lucky and merely avoiding the inevitable? No. Rather, they’re acknowledging the new normal and implementing these tactics:

1.  Delivering Positive Customer Experience

Decades ago when e-commerce arrived on the scene, it was embraced (after an initial feeling-out period) by hordes of customers because the transaction process was fast and convenient. After all, why wait for regular business hours when you can buy a new TV or a new bathing suit at 3am on a weekend?

Well, fast forward a few years, and many of these same customers are learning back toward retailers because the web, for all of its time-saving and distance-eliminating benefits, can sometimes provide a confusing, tedious, or just plain error-riddled shopping experience. That’s why smart retailers are seizing the opportunity to remind their target audience that there is a reason to physically head into a store: to get personalized, consultative and responsive service they want and expect.

2.  Use Signage to Drive Traffic

Just as e-commerce stores use tactics like SEO and PPC to drive digital traffic, retail stores should use signage — such as digital signs, banners, and window lettering — to attract and pull in foot traffic. And if this seems like a minor tactic, then think again! A study by FedEx Office found that a whopping 76 percent of customers entered a store for the first time exclusively because they noticed and liked the signage.

3.  Use Mobile Payment Systems

One of the key reasons that people buy stuff online vs. in-person is to avoid a dreadful line-up at the cash register. Retailers can reduce this frustration — or sometimes, eliminate it entirely — by using mobile payment systems that essentially turn any space into a checkout portal. What’s more, retailers such as pharmacies, florists and so on can use these systems to provide curb-side pick-up, which further enhances the overall customer experience.

The Bottom Line

E-commerce is here to stay, and it’s only going to grow in the years ahead thanks to things like IoT. And yes, this will create challenges for retailers. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that extinction is on the horizon — but only for retailers that proactively thwart the e-commerce threat. The tips above can be a big part of that winning solution.

Featured Image Source: Pixabay

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