Clicks to Bricks: Retailers expand into physical stores
Thursday, December 7, 2017

Clicks to Bricks: Online Retailers Expand into Physical Stores

Over the past few years, a number of online retailers have expanded their digital-native presence into physical retail.  To do this they opened well-curated and digitally-connected brick and mortar locations. Some retailers, like Bonobos and Warby Parker, use their stores as showrooms where customers can try on and order merchandise. Others, like Frank and Oak, focus on the customer experience by offering shoppers styling assistance and haircuts.

No matter the model, many of these retailers have been successful in their transition from clicks to bricks. Despite the changing industry landscape, this transition is a necessity for retailers.  They see the value in offering a true omni-channel experience. And, with the Amazon making a serious foray into physical retail, now is the time for other successful online retailers to expand into brick and mortar.

It's key to perceive both channels as part of a single unified business

Three Tips for Online Retailers Expanding into Brick and Mortar

Whether you’re a brick and mortar retailer making the leap into online or a digital retailer going physical, it’s key to perceive both channels as part of a single, unified business. Specifically, as an online retailer moving into physical stores, you need to focus on your overall omni-channel strategy by implementing omni-channel capabilities like click and collect. This ensures a seamless and convenient experience for your customers.

Implement Omni-Channel Capabilities

Particular Emphasis on order management and fulfillment is needed as it is the lynchpin of omni-channel

Evolving from having a digital-only identity to include in-store sales is not purely about setting up space to sell merchandise. To be successful, consider your expansion as a key step towards developing a complete omni-channel strategy. Of course, you’ll need to design a space that appeals to consumers. But you’ll also need back-end systems in place to execute omni-channel capabilities. Particular emphasis on order management and fulfillment is needed as it is the lynchpin of omni-channel.

This will allow you to offer click and collect, in-store returns, ship to store, and so much more. Without these capabilities, you will fail to take advantage of the all the opportunities presented by having both an online and physical presence.


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Create a Seamless Experience

Make sure that you're delivering a seamless experience for consumers

Just as importantly, you will need to make sure that you’re delivering a seamless experience for consumers. Whether they’re shopping online, in the store, or even from their mobile device.

Today’s shoppers expect the same rewarding experience regardless of where they choose to browse and buy. That being said, stores don’t only need to have the same look and feel as the website, they need to ensure that the experience is the same on each channel.

For example, if a shopper places an order online, they should be able to contact their local store and check on the status of that order. To make that possible, you can’t forget to empower associates with access to order information across all channels.

Promote and Advertise

As you make the move into brick and mortar, you should not only promote the opening of the new store, but also all of the omni-channel capabilities that are now available to customers as a result. Advertise click and collect or in-store returns both on websites and in stores. Place banner ads across all your webpages. Furthermore, use in-store signage to drive people to the website and promote your omni-channel fulfillment options. Whether online or in-store, promoting omni-channel capabilities can help retailers save a sale. And keep customers from going to a competitor!

Don't just promote new store openings, but also all omni-channel capabilities that are available

Physical Retail Driven by Omni-Channel

As Amazon seems to be finding out, no matter how big your online business, all retailers must eventually invest in physical retail. Most recently, Everlane is another great example of an online only retailer – finding that they need a physical presence to truly engage with their customer base. And while not all will thrive when moving from clicks to bricks, ensuring that your physical, and digital, business is driven by on overall omni-channel strategy is the key to success.




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