Online vs. Brick and Mortar – Don’t Compete, Complete

“If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” is the saying when competition gets tough. We’ll add a new twist to that in today’s digital environment. This is for online retailing vs. brick and mortar or physical stores: “Don’t Compete, Complete!

Most retailers have online sales. It’s not because they are trying to put their physical locations out of business. It’s because they are savvy marketers who go where their clients are. If you’re the person managing the retail store sales, you have a tough job. Yet, if you are an innovative sales professional, you’ll think of ways to use your online counterpart to complete the shopping experience and vice versa. You’ll use your online presence to foster opportunities for you. Here are a few ways:

  • Gladly accept returns bought online in the store. Even if it’s an online exclusive, you can process the return for the customer – making the customer happy – then turn around and attract other customers with your rack of “one-of-a-kind” exclusives. Display these prominently using portable garment racks or end-cap shelving that can be easily modified for the new products.
  • Use the website to promote in-store events or accessories for items customers may have purchased online.
  • Before sending the customer to the online store for an out-of-stock item, check other brick and mortar stores for inventory.
  • Refer customers readily to the online store if you’ve exhausted all of your physical locations.
  • Showcase all of your merchandise smartly: Keep displays clean and updated; clothes items folded neatly in rounders and on tables, mannequin figures in active venues demonstrating the product usage.
  • Take special care with glass cases and any glass fixtures – make sure they are not smeared, streaked or dusty. Entice people to want to come into the store to see the items in person, because they’ve heard how amazing the display looks.
  • Work as a team with the marketers in the online division. A marketing program that hits your target market with both physical and digital messages is the strongest marketing campaign to move product.