The world of shopping is changing, and customers are thinking in new ways. The convergence of online and offline shopping experiences can be a surprisingly powerful tool for re-branding your company and driving sales. This can sound intimidating, but the truth is that it's becoming easier than ever before to leverage the difference and start bringing customers back to physical locations. How, you ask? It's all about the customer's experience.
Experiencing the Difference
Convenience is the number-one goal of online shopping.Online retailers like Amazon are so focused on it that they’ll now start shipping products to you before you even buy them. Yes, really – it’s called "anticipatory shipping". The goal is to reduce delivery time to your front door by predicting items you might purchase based on previous orders or searches, then suggesting items already in transit and holding them at a hub near you until your order arrives.
On- or offline, the experience customers get matters, and what you’ll do to take advantage of their shopping tendencies depends on what you’re selling. Take a cue from what L.L. Bean did when they decided to move into the Mall of America: rather than limit themselves to products, the retailer is offering hands-on classes and workshops for shoppers of all age groups through their Outdoor Discovery School.
Designing for the Convergence
Your ultimate goal? Send the message that shopping with you is easy, convenient, and what customers need to solve the problems they face. If you're not sure how to begin taking advantage of the converging online and offline worlds, try offering a few events of your own. You might be surprised at how quickly brand loyalty will build when you start anticipating - and answering - the questions your customers have.