3 Ways Retailers Blend Ecommerce with Retail

Consumers and marketers agree – the world of shopping is increasingly becoming digital. Needless to say, the development of mobile technology has allowed people to access information on-the-go, which means more buying power for the consumer – anytime they want.

In theory, this means that consumers can complete any interaction through there phone that they could on a desktop computer, but what may surprise you is the fact that only 15% of all sales are made on direct mobile platforms. Even more surprisingly, only 1% of all total retail sales are made on mobile.

Ecommerce platforms quickly learned that a mobile consumer rarely becomes  mobile customers, and developed these three tactics that blend ecommerce into retail environments.

 Mobile Loyalty/Incentive Programs

As mobile technology develops, our wallets tend to shrink. That’s not a knock at the price of our favorite gadgets, but instead a nod to yet another convenience that our phones can provide.

With e-payment services like Apple Pay and Google Wallet that exist entirely on your phone, there’s less of a need to pack your wallet, purse, slim-clip – you get the idea. Understandably, your favorite brands want in.

It would appear that classic mobile mantra still holds true – “there’s an app for that.” Retailers are fighting for screen space on your device with apps that allow mobile ordering, exclusive promos, and loyalty programs.

What’s important to note is exactly how loyalty apps encourage spending.

Let’s go back to Marketing 101 and review the 80/20 rule, where 80% of your profits come from 20% of your customers. It’s the foundation that marketing was built on; your current customers are far more valuable than potential new ones.

With that in mind, retailers took to the app store, where recurring customers can download apps that grant them access to exclusive memberships, promotional codes, and related items based on previous purchases. Ultimately, the app provides incentives, but the goal here is to get consumers to scan their digital promos in the retail stores themselves.

Just look at Starbucks, who got same-store sales up 8% in Q3.

 Instagram Photo Ops

Retail environment designers have a lot of tricks up their sleeves in order to encourage sales.

Customers who spend more time in a store are more likely to buy something, and since consumers often end up walking around the store glued to mobile devices, visual merchandisers added photo ops to their arsenal.

By creating a visually appealing display that’s “square frame” (instagram’s picture format) friendly, shoppers go out of their way to post the store front (complete with location tag, of course) to their followers!

Popular displays don’t need to feature products, just look at these vendors who made their stores Instagram hotspots.

Channel your artistic eye and let the consumers publicize your work!

 Online Stores Going Retail

Perhaps the ultimate example of blending ecommerce and retail isn’t much of a blend, but rather a formation.

Despite reports of retail stores closing as a result of online transactions, digital stores are actually opening brick-and-mortar retail environments!

The most notable of this trend is the Amazon bookstore which currently has five stores open nationwide, with seven more opening soon. The Amazon bookstore is quite literally a physical form of its digital self; books face cover-out with Amazon customer reviews are displayed underneath each title. No more “take a peek at the first few pages” – read as much as you’d like, or download it to your e-reader.

Amazon isn’t the only retailer that’s extending its digital presence – online mattress store Casper is moving from pop-up stores to permanent brick-and-mortar stores too.

Blending Ecommerce and Retail

While mobile traffic continues to rise and brands compete on phone screens as they once did on computer screens, it goes to show that there is no retail space that can’t benefit from some digital incentive.

The pairing of digital and print helps to not only get customers in the store, but keeps them in-store longer. Creating signage that draws attention to promos, sales, and in-store offers is a must for maximizing the visibility of your online presence.

James Randolph is Jr. Digital Marketing Specialist for Mimeo

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