To pick up where Amos left off, "multi-channel retailers have many advantages over Amazon if they continue to exploit every opportunity to blur the channels." (Retailers' Survival Guide To Webrooming). Simultaneously comes a report from Boston Retail Partners stating, "The retail industry is undergoing an unprecedented multi-channel transformation with more than 90% of retailers pursuing multi-channel supply chain re-invention efforts." In fact, 93% said they were adopting a unified commerce model (39% currently implementing solutions, and 54% in the planning stages). (Internet Retailer: Omnichannel re-invention widespread at retail, July 30, 2014).
So here are some the things retailers need to do to compete big:
1. Strengthen brand identity across all channels;
2. Communicate features, benefits and value over and above that of Amazon and other competitors;
3. Ensure a consistent customer service experience everywhere in the multi-channel the customer has contact with you;
4. Motivate customers to provide you with their data;
5. Provide knowledgeable customer service;
6. Provide expert advice directing the customer to the product that best suits their needs;
7. Get customers to subscribe to email or text updates;
8. Get customers to follow your brand on social networks (like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest);
9. Use social networks as tools to shift online interest to the store.
10. Include product descriptions and availability;
11. Keep in-store inventory up to date with your online catalog;
12. Have consistent prices across channels;
13. Put reviews on-site AND in stores. (Remember, 85% of modern-day shoppers research products before buying);
14. Offer coupons or specials online to be redeemed in the store;
15. Provide online order forms;
16. 25 Tips & Tricks To Beat Amazon With Multi-channel Marketing Allow in-store pickup for online orders;
17. Provide alerts regarding last-chance purchases and inventory restocks.
***Special Category: Mobile
18. Focus marketing efforts on mobile applications, getting customers to download your mobile app.
Mobile is going to be big. The world’s 500 largest mobile commerce merchants will grow their sales this year to $84 billion (an 80% increase), according to Internet Retailer Mobile Report just published.
*About 80 percent of all local searches performed on mobile devices result in actual purchases.
*Roughly 73% of these purchases are in b and m stores, while 16 percent are by phone, and 11 percent are online.
*Slightly more than ¾ of these purchases occur the same day as the search… 63 percent of them taking place within just a few hours.
On Your Site:
19. Optimize your site for search, especially local search if you have a store location near them;
20. Identify keywords and phrases that will bring online researchers to your site;
21. Make sure you have adequate content for crawlers to index each page and use best practices for site and landing page optimization;
22. Improve the site visitor's experience with interactive guides such as, "You might also like…", entertaining content, graphics, video, photos, charts, etc.;
23. Add elements such as reviews and rates, information that doesn't just persuade them to buy, but to buy from you because of the buying experience described in the review;
24. Motivate shoppers to provide you with their data, subscribe to email or text updates, follow your brand on social networks, and promote referrals;
25. Seek feedback -- and heed it -- so you can further solidify your relationship with your customers as well as improve areas that may be problematic.
Bottom Line For Your Bottom Line
To meet the needs of a "buy anywhere / anytime" customer and also to compete with Amazon pricing and procedures, continue blurring channels. Give customers consistent, familiar shopping experiences whether visiting your website, receiving an email or coupon, browsing your social network pages, or visiting your brick and mortar store. Closely coordinate your on-line, in store, mobile, social, catalog, -- i.e. multi-channel. Make it seamless to win the customer and the sale.