Amazon is expanding its brick and mortar offerings. The e-commerce behemoth is popping up with physical retail locations from DC to Berkeley… and as a result, traditional retailers are gearing up to face down some major omnichannel competition. While it’s true that physical retail has been a competitive industry for quite some time, Amazon’s play for physical locations officially harkens the end to the era of “just getting by” in brick and mortar. Business-owners are going to be faced with the option to change and evolve with the times... or to get bowled over by the big guys as Amazon snatches up consumer spending in the physical retail space.

If you’re a physical retailer looking to buff-up your in-store operations, we’re here to help you create a winning in-store success strategy. Check out the following 5 tips to learn how to make your store a premium retail destination that’s impervious to any other businesses that may pop up in your town.

#1. A Strong Digital Presence Leads to Physical Sales

There’s a misconception amongst physical retailers that customers either shop local or shop online. The truth is that most customers’ paths-to-purchase consider a wide variety of brand platforms, including such factors as a retailer’s physical ads, social media presence, online catalog, customer reviews, in-store presentation, word-of-mouth and etc. Remember this: according to BigCommerce, online shoppers spend 64 percent of their budgets in-store. The work your interns do on social media and the quality of imagery that you offer in your online catalog is arguably as or more important to your in-store sales as your physical product displays. It’s time to get serious about your digital presence!

#2. Make Sure to Work All of Your (Local) Angles

Amazon might be a lot of things, but it isn’t hyper-local. Use this to your advantage by highlighting and featuring work by local artisans in your store. Create an in-store experience by hosting classes, workshops, or artist meet-and-greets, and take photos of your customers at each event. Additionally, have a presence at local swap meets and festivals - using your visibility at local gatherings as a platform to strategically promote your store’s affiliation with the community. Don’t give your customers the opportunity to forget that by making a purchase at your store, they are giving back to the community they love.

#3. Get a Handle on Your Back-of-House Inventory

The modern customer is anything but patient. As a result, it is essential to offer customers a convenient one-stop-shop experience to build a loyal customer base within your local market. Unfortunately, many independent retailers have yet to optimize their back-of-house operations. This leads to associates wasting customers’ time while they rifle around in the back looking for a specific product or gift-with-purchase… which leads to said customers opting to do their shopping online (and with online super-giants) in the future. To prevent losing out on customers due to a poor back-of-house organization, you and your associates need to know exactly where to find each product that you have in-stock at a given time. So, make sure you are briefing each associate on where to find any new inventory that comes in at the beginning of each shift, as well as how to demonstrate any new products that come in.

#4. Keep Putting in Effort with Your Loyal Customers 

It is widely known that it’s cheaper to retain an existing customer than to convert a new one. In fact, Invespcro reports that “the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70 percent, while the probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20 percent.” Yet this information doesn’t stop many retailers from focusing more on recruitment than retention. Consider this: Even if you aren’t making an effort to rewards your loyal customers, someone else out there is definitely making the effort to recruit them. Reward your existing customers as well as creating promotions to incentivize new customers, so that you can retain your best clients… even when your competitors start sniffing around.

#5. Strengthen Your Branding and Create a Buzz

Amazon might be in the business of everything, but it isn’t in the business of branding or of specialization. This means things that make your business unique are the factors that differentiate your business in the face of potential mega-store competition. So, now’s the time to double-down on what makes your business special and to promote the living heck out of it on social media. Don’t be afraid to do something different – whether it’s branding your store in a whole new color scheme or partnering with a few local micro-influencers to really make your social media pages move – it’s absolutely encouraged for indie retailers to be a little “extra.”

So, get a little weird, keep it local and keep putting in the legwork.

Take advantage of ASD Market Week’s 90+ free retail strategy sessions in Las Vegas.

By Jasmine