3 Steps For Unifying Your Online and Offline Stores
Getting more from your online and offline stores can be achieved through greater unification. Ensuring both the online and offline work in tandem can make a notable difference to your success and here is how to do it.
- Get Your Technology Together
Your store’s back end systems need to be integrated. This step is a crucial part of creating an omni-channel shopping experience. The physical store and e-commerce site need to be able to share data and function together. For example, information about inventory should be synced to each system.
Generally, the challenge of back-end unification is in syncing the e-commerce content management system (CMS) with the in-store point-of-sale system (POS). The easiest way to unify these systems is to invest in a system that handles everything for you.
When choosing an integrated system, there are many factors to consider. You can start by determining the number of unique product SKUs are in your current inventory.
If you are a small retailer you can use one of the latest do-it-yourself integrated platforms. It would allow you to combine your POS and CMS, in order to manage your inventory. For example, the Shopify POS offers small to medium sized brick and mortar retailers a platform that creates a seamless customer shopping experience. Shopify integrates all of the major elements of a modern retail management system including a DIY online store creator, inventory management, payment processing, a physical POS system and analytics. And, the physical POS syncs with the online tools.
- Enhance the Customer In-Store Experience
Many shoppers have grown accustomed to the advantages of online shopping. Online shoppers have access to reviews, mobile payment options (like PayPal), the ability to choose various colors, sizes, and styles, and the ability to share recent purchases or gift ideas with friends on social media.
It’s hard for a brick and mortar store to compete with these benefits. However, in-store shopping has its own benefits. A shopper in a store can interact with the product. They can touch the blanket. Hear the stereo. See the decor. Smell the perfume. Test the computer. Taste the Food. Try on the shirt. These personal interactions can make a shopper more likely to buy an item than they might be if they saw the item online. That’s one of the key reasons to unify your stores.
As a brick and mortar retailer, you need to understand the value of in-store shoppers. The problem is sometimes it can be difficult to get people in the store. You can increase the number of people who shop in your store by offering online perks to in-store shoppers, such as:
- Allow customer to pick up their online orders at brick and mortar locations.
- Accept mobile payments, like PayPal, though the in-store POS system.
- Create an app that allows shoppers to scan a barcode and read reviews.
- Offer in-store access to your online catalog.
- Provide free customer Wi-Fi.
- Combine Online and Offline Marketing
Integrating your shopping systems is not enough for complete unification of your retail business. Your customers need to know about the shopping opportunities available with the online and offline store integration. Your marketing efforts need to reflect this integration. Here are some ways to blend your marketing efforts:
- Advertise you in-store enhancements to online customers.
- Promote social contests in your physical store.
- Create a Facebook event for an in-store sale.
- Use geolocation targeting to send offers via mobile to nearby customers.
When unifying your online and offline stores you need to consider this an investment that requires long-term dedication. It also means the technology needs to be looked after and this is where Symbol Zebra Maintenance comes into play. However, by following these three guidelines, you will start with the right system and you can build a successfully integrated retail business from there.