For the brick-and-mortar retailer in today’s digital age, there is a lot of doom-and-gloom regarding physical retail. The reality is, however, that 90% of consumer spending is still happening in brick-and-mortar stores in comparison to online retailers.
Despite this, there’s no doubt that competition in the retail space is fiercer than ever without disrupters like Amazon. Savvy physical retailers cannot only survive, but thrive in this climate because there are actually more advantages for offline retailers than there are for online retailers. To explain that, let’s start off with the advantages of online retail.
The Online Edge
Online retailers have access to very specific customer data compared to brick-and-mortar stores. They are able to track and make note of what customers like through their online platforms. When you log onto Amazon.com and shop around their online store, they use big data to leverage what you look at and add to your wishlist in order to predict what other similar customers might like. This gives Amazon the ability to tailor each and every customer’s experience to their website.
Another avenue that is available to online retailers is capturing email addresses using a web sign-up form. This allows online retailers to promote products to their customers and communicate with them in order to keep them engaged with their brand directly in a customer’s email inbox.
Then there is social media advertising. Facebook allows online retailers to create audiences in order to target customers by their interests. Going further, an online retailer can use something called a Facebook pixel to track who came to their website in order to retarget an ad to them. In that way, they can be served advertisements on Facebook based on what they shopped for on the retailer’s website.
Brick-and-Mortar Can Do the Same
While all of that sounds like a huge advantage for online stores, the truth is that all of those tools are available for offline retailers as well. By leveraging the power of a WiFi marketing platform like Aislelabs Connect all of that data can be collected and analyzed for brick-and-mortar spaces as well.
The way it works is that when a customer visits a physical retail space and logs onto the guest WiFi using their Facebook account, Connect will be given access to their demographic, contact, and interests information. With a single user click, a brick-and-mortar store can get all of the same benefits an online store has access to.
The Offline Retailer’s Edge
The benefits for a physical retail space don’t end there. WiFi marketing platforms like Connect also come with even more features and reports that an online store cannot collect. For example, Connect can show how long customers spent at the location, how many were engaged, and what percentage returns to the space. It also comes with the ability to execute and keep track of your marketing efforts. Facebook retargeting campaigns and email promotions can be sent directly from the platform and hyper-targeted to specific demographics. The Aislelabs enabled space then picks up the customers who received the advertising and returned to the space in order to get a true understanding of what the effect the marketing campaign had. Online stores have to do that from multiple separate platforms and cannot see what the impact was outside of email open or ad clicks. It is nearly impossible to tell whether the customer who opened the email actually acted on it.
A final edge that physical stores have over online retail is that they still dominate the retail space due to tactile interaction. The ability to touch and feel products and then immediately purchase them ranks as the highest reason most shoppers prefer shopping in the real world rather than online. By combining that advantage with the technological innovations online retail have developed, a brick-and-mortar space can amplify their marketability and conquer their competitors.