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How to mix your online store with a brick and mortar shop

By Greg Bell

We live in a world that is becoming increasingly digital. We talk to our friends, we talk to people on the other side of the world we've never met before, we read news, watch movies and, of course, we shop online.

For consumers, this is wildly convenient. But for brick and mortar store owners, this might feel like reason for concern.

Instead of feeling threatened by e-commerce, however, retail store owners need to learn how to embrace the trend, and make the two mediums work together to increase profits. 

The significance of e-commerce worldwide

There is no escaping it – e-commerce is taking over the world.

A report conducted by Australia Post and published by ReadyToShip found that Australians spent $19 billion online in 2015 – that was 12 per cent higher than 2014. The report went on to find that online shopping from January to June of 2016 had increased 15.9 per cent in all states and territories across Australia in almost all categories.

This growth is on par with the rest of the world as well. Statista found that in 2016, e-retail sales accounted for 8.7 per cent of all retail sales worldwide. The figures went on to predict how e-commerce would grow over the next years, and had it at 15.5 per cent by 2021.

Expect growth in the years to come

There's really no reason to believe that online shopping and general e-commerce is going to slow down. Online retail giant Amazon Technologies, Inc. has just released a Patent for Aquatic Storage Facilities.

That's right, Amazon is building underwater storage facilities to hold even more of their product as it waits to ship. Just for a brief explanation as to how this would work (because we know you're curious), Amazon's plan has packages placed into liquid container facility in a natural body of water and are weighted so they float down to the desired storage depth. Then once the product is ordered, a balloon expands and it floats to the surface.

Sounds pretty futuristic, doesn't it? Regardless, the point is that the growth of e-commerce is so great, that major retailers are in need of more storage space. And that could be both good or bad for your business, depending on how you approach your strategy.

Strategies for fusing online and brick and mortar stores

At this point, we want to help the retail shop owners of Surfers Paradise come up with ways they can incorporate e-commerce into their business strategies. Because in many ways, e-commerce still needs brick and mortar shops to survive. Even Amazon has opened physical stores to help boost their online sales. Here's how you can merge the two:

Tactic one: Focus on customer service

While e-commerce is all about convenience, your brick and mortar store needs to be all about the experience. You want to customise each interaction you have with your clients making personal recommendations for the things they're buying. That means being really honest. No, that blouse isn't your colour. Yes, those glasses look great on you.

For the best customer service, you need to hire the right people – the people who can give those recommendations and styling tips.

Tactic two: Stock unique products

You might think it would be hard to find unique goods to stock your store with, but not when you support your local vendors! These days, decorating is all about supporting local artists or inventors. If you can get them to sign an exclusive deal with you, then that makes it all the more attractive to customers. Additionally, if these local artists have their products on an e-commerce site, this can help move them. Customers want to try products on before they buy them. It can actually increase sales for both.

By bringing their products into your store, you not only support them, but you attract customers to your store as well.

If you need more tips on how to make your brick and mortar store more attractive, contact our team here at Ray White Surfers Paradise. We can also help you find the perfect commercial space for you to sell your products in as well!

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