While Amazon certainly has control of the retail market here in 2018, and seems positioned to remain the dominant retailer for years to come, they aren’t unbeatable. And traditional brick-and-mortar powerhouses can do more than they realize to snatch back market share.
Yes, you read that right. The state of the retail market isn’t totally out of your control. You can still compete. However, you have to be as quick and willing as Amazon to adapt.
Here’s how you can position yourself to outdo the competition here in 2018:
1. Your Brick-and-Mortar Stores Need an Experience that Reinvents Convenience
One retail consultant entered a Bonobos store. They could have just tossed a few discounts his way and called it a day. But obviously, that’s not a sustainable business model.
Instead, an engaging salesperson helped him quickly find the right size of clothing for him to try on. They already had their floor space set up as a showroom so you could quickly and easily see what to choose from.
Two days later, the products this consultant wanted show up at his door. Attached is a friendly and personalized note from the salesperson.
And then Bonobos made it simple to go online and make follow-up purchases.
Now that’s a different, and highly personal, experience.
And it’s what you need to recreate to offer customers a reason to shop at your store instead of buying from Amazon.
2. Why Costco, T.J. Maxx, West Elm, Lululemon and Ulta Can’t Slow Sales Down
These stores have bottom lines that still rock. Going up and to the right on their charts is an expectation, not a miraculous event.
Clearly, they focus on value pricing.
But they also make it easy to discover new products. It’s difficult to replicate this experience online.
Costco offers a marketplace-like experience because it has such a large and spacious interior. On Saturdays, they also have employees handing out food samples, which enhance the marketplace atmosphere even further.
3. All Your Sales Channels Must Work Together
We won’t name the company, but suffice to say it is a nationally known retailer. And in fact, a similar experience happens at another one.
Their website loads slow. Sometimes the product pages don’t load at all. The checkout process frequently gives you multiple frustrating errors, which it makes it a pain to purchase.
Now, those are just the basics of online sales. And some of the largest retailers in the nation have trouble with that.
Today, consumers expect you to have a similar sales experience across every channel you sell on. Retailers have known this for some time, but few do it well.
So, when your customers order online, what do they experience?
Have you tried shopping and browsing your own website yourself? Have you tried going across multiple sales channels to see how it feels?
If you don’t understand precisely how this works, it’s time to figure it out. Conduct user experience testing. Take feedback seriously. And make sure you have a team whose sole job it is to constantly research and implement this across all your sales channels.
You may not have the technological capabilities Amazon does. But that doesn’t mean you can’t compete and increase your market share here in 2018.
Companies who take these tips seriously will find their stock charts quickly growing.