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What Retailers Can Learn From Online Shopping Strategies

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The Internet has struck again, and this time, it’s retail stores feeling its wrath.

The Green Bay Gazette reports that online retailers like Amazon are causing traditional stores to languish, forcing them to rethink how they do business. Best Buy, for example, posted a 5% drop in revenue that the company attributed to increased competition from Internet retailers like Amazon, Target, Costco, and Walmart.

The GBG reports:

“Blockbuster, Circuit City, Linens 'n Things, Borders and other specialty megastores expanded rapidly in the 1980s and 1990s, often putting small independent retailers out of business.

Now, some specialty megastores have gone out of business, and others are under pressure. Technologies and customer needs change, and thrifty consumers armed with smartphones and mobile computers are shedding old loyalties in favor of mass merchandisers and the lowest price.”

According to analysts, this trend will result in a few profound changes to the retail landscape: more store closings, smaller surviving retail locations, a glut of vacant retail space, and better customer service in traditional stores.

But retailers don’t need to take this fundamental shift in consumer behavior lying down.

By adopting some simple changes, retail stores can incorporate proven online business strategies to help them compete.

For example, online shoppers love to comment on products. Comment sections are a great way to talk about what you like about a product, what you don’t like, offer other shoppers advice, and frankly, talk about anything even if it’s unrelated to the product, like what you had for dinner, why you hated The King’s Speech, and your thoughts on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

All that a company like Best Buy needs to do is to add comment sections to their products on the shelf and voila! Instant customer interaction!

Another successful online shopping strategy that companies like Amazon employ is showing customers related products. This is best executed by the use of a link. Naturally, retail stores can’t use links in the strictest sense of the word. But they can, with a little R&D, invent actual warp zones that customers can dive into and be transported to another part of the store. This will cut down on time spent walking to a different aisle and boost impulse sales.

Lastly, online stores keep track of what you’ve already bought so they can tailor a shopping experience that fits your specific tastes. For example, maybe you recently bought a few lamp shades at Chances are, will start showing you all kinds of lighting-related products because they know right off the bat that lighting is your product du jour. For retail stores, it’s a little more challenging to do this, but not impossible.

By simply interrogating every customer in the back room of the store, demanding to see their shopping history, their shopping tastes, where they’re from, what their income is, their age, weight, cholesterol levels, and political proclivities, retailers can develop unique shopping experiences for consumers. It might take a little getting used to, but in the end, shoppers will definitely be coming back for more.

See, there is hope.
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.