Customer Service / Offline Retail Services / Small Businesses

Sustaining Brick and Mortar Stores: 3 Major Tips In Customer Relations

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With the recent boom in e-commerce and online retail, the traditional brick and mortar stores were threatened with rumours of extinction. Major online retailers such as Amazon, Lazada and eBay seemed like a permanent evolution of the retail landscape.

Over the past years, it has become clear, however, that brick and mortar stores would not face such a fate. Harvard Business Review points out that the predicted cataclysm stayed a rumour. Brick and mortar sales accounted for a whopping majority of retail sales at 92.3%. Online retail accounted for only a small percentage of the figures, while the shift from offline to online was exacted at 0.8% between 2015 and 2016.

While the safety-net of traditional brick and mortar stores has held well, e-commerce is still a relatively new concept that seems to be growing popular among today’s youth. Statically, online retail has proved a benign threat to retail stores. While the turning point seems distant, brick and mortar store owners can take measures to further delay the consequences from the ever-growing development of e-commerce.

Breaking The Fourth Wall

In the past, inventory was the key-driver behind customer loyalty and retention. Pushing products and creating hype was the goal of marketeers. But these techniques are dated and no longer a viable tactic in engaging with customers.
Shoppers nowadays are picky. What separates a product from another, when both are equally hyped and marketed? Experience. Shoppers crave an engagement that traverses the barriers of standard marketing. Ever heard the saying, “the best kind of marketing, doesn’t feel like marketing”?The modern shopper craves a personal recognition with the brand. A good marketer understands this and manages to strike a chord with their audience by creating an immersive story behind the brand.
This is not to say that ethics are at stake. Consumerism is negatively impacted by bad business ethics. The story must be truthful and honest. Petronas Malaysia releases feel-good videos that appeal to the layman of Malaysia. 
This is a prime example of customer engagement that goes beyond what the company’s product offers. Nike offers sports classes at select locations to further enhance the brand’s image, while giving back to loyal customers. None of these are a compromise of ethics, but they add a layer of dimension to the functions of a brand or product.

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