If you are operating a brick and mortar store, and an ecommerce version as well (which I strongly suggest), what is the advantage a customer has when going to the brick and mortar?
Perhaps. If it is more convenient for them to get the product(s) they want immediately. Convenience could also be not having to leave the house to get the product(s) though. Maybe convenience isn’t the only incentive the customers should get for shopping in your brick and mortar store.
I was at a local cell phone store (which shall remain nameless) yesterday with a friend, and we were both appalled at how long it took them to get through with the transaction.
First off, he knew exactly what phone he was getting when he got there, so it wasn’t like he was shopping around. The store was fairly busy, but we got there in time to where he was being "assisted" within five minutes tops. I casually sat on a bench waiting for him to be through so we could get our Little Caesar’s pizza, which was awaiting us a block away. 30 minutes later he was done.
My friend says that the guy helping him didn’t seem to really know what he was doing and that he was probably a new trainee. This is a subject that would probably make for another article, but I don’t want to get into the excuses too much here. This might not be how slow the store normally operates, but I asked my friend why he didn’t just order the phone online. That’s what I have always done and it has always been painless. It takes a few days, but it’s less of a hassle in my opinion.
After all he was not in need of a phone immediately. He still had his old one that worked just fine. He was just excited about getting his new one. Maybe impatience is the reason he went to the store rather than ordering online, and ironically, patience is exactly what was required while being assisted at the store. Something tells me he will be ordering his next phone online.
So now I ask you: what reason do your customers have to come to your store rather than order online? I’m not talking about new customers who discover you while walking by. I’m talking about the ones that know who you are. They know you have a site. What is getting them through your door?
Maybe you don’t care whether they choose your store or your online store. It’s all found business anyway right? Sure it is, but they probably won’t be bringing anybody with them to your online store. Many people do not typically shop alone. They bring their friends or family members, and guess what. Your chances of making more sales go up (provided those friends and family members don’t witness poor service while there).
As gas prices start to become more of a factor (i’ve heard that schools are even cancelling classes for this very reason) you might want to consider offering more reasons for customers to come to your brick and mortar store if you plan to continue operating one.
This article is really meant to be more of a conversation piece than concrete advice, so with that note, I’d like to encourage your feedback.