Every single one of us shops. Sometimes physically by driving to the supermarket to pick up food. And on other times we treat ourselves to a shopping afternoon where we will visit 20 retailers in the city to find that new outfit in order to stay on-trend. Or you might have bought airplane tickets online towards a sunny destination and some noise canceling headphones in case there will be babies on that flight.

E-commerce revenue in Europe

E-commerce in Europe is forecasted to be worth 621 billion euros by the end of 2019. This would mean an increase of 13.6 percent compared to last year, when online shopping was worth 547 billion euros.

Shopping is a huge part of our life. But our shopping behaviours have been changing in the last years. E-commerce has been growing and we all like to have options, so now we have a wide variety of online shopping channels to choose from when we suddenly have the craving to buy something new.

The retail world needs a makeover.

Today around 3.6m retail companies in Europe are providing almost 10% of European jobs. So it is definitely an industry that we want to see evolve in order to preserve its huge impact on jobs in the EU.

But is seems like it isn’t so straightforward for retailers to jump on the digital train. Only one fifth of the retailers in Europe is selling products through an online channel. Not necessarily their own website, often through third party platforms.

Multichannel retailing must be a focus if you want to give your business an overhaul. Online and offline retail go hand-in-hand and still 90 percent of sales are happening in physical stores. But how can these pure physical stores blend into the online shopping world in order to boost their overall sales success?

Go online to sell

No problem if you haven’t made it yet to the online world. But now would be the time to really start with it before you completely miss out.
Yes, it will be a challenge. But that’s no excuse because it was a challenge for everyone that started with an online adventure.
Imagine that you can tell your current customers that you will be available 24/7, I bet they will love that idea. See it as an extra service to your loyal clients. Those current clients are definitely already shopping online and you don’t want them to find an online replacement for your shop, right?

Go online to meet and connect with current and new customers

Which social media platform that you need to be active on will depend on where your customers are. So you will need to invest in some marketing research in order to know if you want to invest your marketing budget and time on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok, Snapchat or Pinterest.

Social media platforms are constantly developing and re-inventing themselves. So it is difficult for everyone to keep up. But have no fear, there are many experts around that can help you out with that.

Go online to advertise

I bet you have seen advertisements popping up on Facebook and Instagram from competitors within your expertise field. Maybe even local competitors who can steal away potential clients by luring them into their online and physical stores.
A great advantage of online advertisement is that it can be made very personal and tailored to your audience. You can easily apply detailed demographic targeting to your ads. It will be far more appealing if you are speaking the language of your customers and use visuals that appeal to their specific persona while pitching products they were already actively researching. Yes, that and many more options are all available and make investing in classic billboards and magazine ads a bit old fashioned.

Customize the shopping experience for your clients

Consumers like to be able to rely on expertise from skilled shop assistants. Today, there are online services where people select an outfit that matches your preferences and style. In that way anyone can have a personal stylist who will help out online. Often this includes a skype chat with a real person before they select the items that would fit with your profile. Big online e-commerce websites like Zalando and Amazon have been using this kind of service. Stitchfix offers only a personal styling assistant service and it is a great success in the US and the UK.

Hate it or love it, it is a brilliant approach. Instead of giving advice about one item and selling only that particular item you can sell them a whole package of products in one session. And this does not only apply to people who are looking for a matching outfit. This can be used in many different industries. It is far more convenient to buy everything in one shop instead of 20 different stores. So you can convince your audience to choose for this option and sell more than just that one item you are known for.

Examples:

  • Someone going on his first adventurous trip abroad is in need of gear that fits his traveling style. Things like a backpack, hiking boots, clothing that matches the climate, travel book about the destination, water filter…
  • A young couple is taking their relationship to the next level and starts living together. They are looking for all the furniture and appliances that you can possibly need in a new home
  • An aspiring 3D designer wants to build her own strong desktop computer that needs to render a lot of 3D visuals. But first she wants someone to select the items that are compatible with each other and that will match her needs and budget

Enhance the customized shopping experience a little more

Why don’t you involve more background data of your physical store visitors? There are POS systems that help your sales team by scanning the people that walk into your shop. Via facial recognition they know who walks in the store – if they are registered in your (web)shop that is – , which items that person previously bought and which items they have in their shopping cart, plus maybe other valuable data you collected during different online and offline touchpoints you had with that client. (Social interaction, previous product complaints, email clicks …)

These POS systems speed up the sales process and make it easier for your team to close a sale. This is not the future, this is already happening. And yes, you can implement it as well.

Recap

In Europe we need a market where retailers can expand and create new jobs.
A market filled with innovation and healthy competitiveness. With consumers that can get the value they are looking for.
An improved retail experience would not only benefit all who shop, but it would be a boost for the entire European economy.

Baldwin can connect you with your potential online clients. Contact us for more info on Webshops, Marketing Research and Online Advertising.

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