With the development of online shopping and the convenience surrounding it, owners of brick-and-mortar retail stores might be finding themselves facing the challenge of staying relevant, and more, staying open. Seeking business from a culture that is constantly surrounded by screens and technology that makes daily living convenient, quick, and easy is a challenge that many storefronts face. Of course, there are many pros for visiting physical stores. When visiting brick-and-mortar stores, you can actually try clothes on, feel and hold tangible objects, getting a sense of how you like them. You can have face-to-face conversations with employees who can help you find what you’re looking for, listen to your concerns, provide customer service and hospitality, and give you information about a product. These are all characteristics that you are less likely to find with online retail stores, giving storefronts the upper-hand. While shopping online has its perks and benefits, there are still expectations that online stores will never be able to meet, making brick-and-mortar shopping experiences that much more valuable. 

A Smile and a Greeting

Upon entering a retail store, you are usually greeted by an employee working the floor and greeting people. They’ll smile and enthusiastically ask you how you are. They give you information about deals or sales going on in the store, and personally invite you to ask them any questions that you have. As a customer, you not only feel welcomed, but you feel as if the employees want you there. Further, if this is your first time at the store, the employee will most likely give you a run-down of the layout of the store and the products you can expect to find. For customers, this experience is extremely powerful because it’s inviting and takes some of the stress out of shopping. When visiting online retail stores, customers are not greeted by an employee and usually have to click their way through ads or promotions, which can be frustrating. Never underestimate the power of a warm welcome and a hospitable employee, helping create a memorable experience the customer will likely tell their friends about, referring them to the storefront. It encourages business and positive reviews. 

Information and Assistance

As covered briefly above, a designated employee will welcome all the customers when they enter the store and tell the customer not to hesitate in asking them any questions they have. Knowledgeable staff that is eager to educate the customers about their products ultimately enhances the shopping experience. The staff is there to help the customer make decisions and provide them with informed opinions and experiences. Their kindness and patience will make the customer feel obligated to buy something. They will feel bad walking out of the store empty-handed after the employee just walked them through the pros and cons of every product. Indirect encouragement taking the form of selfless assistance can have stronger effects than you think. To further the customer’s experience, staff members will even offer discounts for people who are visiting the store for the first time. Staff will also pamper the customer and treat them like they are the most important person in the world. Even after checking out, staff members who know the importance of quality customer service will take the care to wrap each product with care and will take a moment to walk them through their return policy or warranties for any product. Employees who make the customer feel important even after they walk out of the store have fully optimized the customer experience, which is something that simply cannot be replicated with online retail stores. 

They Will Always Be There, Even If the WiFi Is Down or the Website Crashes

This might go without saying, but brick-and-mortar stores will, of course, still exist even when the WiFi is down or the website crashes. While this might seem like a trivial fact, it can have tremendous benefits in building customer relationships. Customers needing to use the website to return something or simply look for product information only to be met with a blank screen that says “Can’t Connect to Server” or “Site Can’t Be Reached” will surely exit the window or slam their laptop in frustration. When realizing that they can simply pick up the phone to contact the store and talk to an eager staff member, however, their mood will change and so will their customer experience. Shopping can sometimes be an emotionally draining experience, so when customers feel like their concerns are being heard and needs are being met, they are being sold on an experience. Storefronts exist to over-deliver and sell an experience, not just a product. 

Everything You Need Is Right There

Possibly one of the greatest things about shopping in brick-and-mortar stores is the fact that everything you want to buy is right there in front of you ready to be bought. With online shopping, you have to add something to your cart and contemplate how much money you actually want to spend on the shipping fee (is it worth paying the extra $8 + to get the product in two business days?) before going through the hassle of entering your address and credit card information. Sure this process takes only a few minutes, but if you were in a store, you would be happily walking out the door with the product(s) in your hand and a smile on your face. 

We live in a rapidly changing world with digital technology making a lot of our daily routines easy and convenient — practically a breeze. With online stores and shopping apps on-demand for digital shoppers, brick-and-mortar stores face the unique challenge of keeping up with speedy service. There are, however, services storefronts offer that cannot be replicated by online stores. Both online and physical stores, however, are both valuable are offer services unique to the environment. No matter what kind of businesses you own, whether it’s sporting goods, lingerie, or furniture; whether it’s online or existing as a storefront, rely on Visual Retail Plus and our point of sale software system to optimize and organize your businesses. Schedule a free demo today!