Recently, I led a webinar featuring Forrester Vice President and Principal Analyst Sucharita Mulpuru on Digital Strategies to Improve the In-Store Experience. I’d like to share six insights and three recommendations on how you can drive traffic and sales in physical stores by extending your digital strategies to the in-store experience.
- Retail is more competitive than ever. The number of online and physical stores has risen dramatically– by more than 1 million!– since 2000 so competition for traffic and sales is fierce.
- Most retail business is still done in physical stores. While ecommerce is increasing both in overall sales and as a percentage of total sales, most of the money gets spent in physical stores. Smart retailers are leveraging digital strategies to convert more shoppers online and in-store.
- The Mobile Mind Shift is creating opportunities for retailers. People engage with their phones 100 times a day. They use phones not only to search and shop online, but to help them locate physical stores and help them shop in-store.
- Ratings and reviews are in the top 5 areas of mobile investments. Understanding the power of ratings and reviews to drive traffic and increase sales online and in-store, retailers are ensuring ratings and reviews are mobile friendly and are including them in their mobile applications. SMS is a technology that everyone has access to regardless of their mobile platform and everyone knows how to text. Make it easy for consumers to access reviews via text, website, or app.
- If you don’t provide reviews, Amazon will. Customers in-store consider review necessary for their in-store shopping experience. If a retailer doesn’t provide reviews, consumers will go elsewhere for them. Keep consumers on your property– digital and physical– with reviews.
- Reviews in-store will drive sales. The same way that reviews have a direct impact on increasing online conversion, shoppers are more likely to purchase in-store if they have access to helpful online reviews. Retailers know this and are making reviews available not only via mobile, but through physical signs and product tags, kiosks, digital displays, and tablets in dressing rooms. They’re experimenting with hyper-relevance to push reviews to consumers based on their location and personal history.
Based on these drivers, we recommend three actions you can take to improve your in-store performance with reviews:
- Ensure your website is mobile friendly. There are lots of options to bring reviews in-store (see #6), but today the best way to reach customers is through their phone. Make sure your website and reviews are mobile-friendly to help in-store shoppers. A mobile-friendly site is also essential for SEO.
- Add reviews to your mobile app. If you are investing in a mobile app, make sure users can read and write reviews in the app. If your app makes it easy for your customers to write reviews, you’ll increase the content that drives traffic and conversion better than any other.
- Add reviews to your digital touchpoints in-store. Make review content accessible in any digital touchpoints you have in-store with consumers or associates: kiosks, tablets, or digital displays. You work so hard to generate high quality content: make sure your consumers can access it when they need it!