Customer Relationship Management

Lessons Retail Stores Can Learn From Successful Ecommerce Sites

Brick-and-mortar businesses can use virtually all the digital tools online stores do to track and improve the customer experience.
Lessons Retail Stores Can Learn From Successful Ecommerce Sites
Image credit: Thomas Barwick | Getty Images
Guest Writer
Entrepreneur, Growth Hacker and Marketer
4 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Ever wish you could drive sales from your retail stores just like ecommerce businesses do? The ability to track every user interaction is the main thing that sets ecommerce businesses apart from a brick and mortar retail business. By collecting and analyzing user interaction, ecommerce businesses can provide a great user experience tailored to individual user preferences.

While traditional retailers can’t exactly replicate the marketing strategies of ecommerce businesses, they can still take many valuable lessons from them.

Related: 4 Ways Brick-and-Mortar Stores Can Outsell Online Retailers

Let’s take a look at a few strategies that retail stores can learn from successful ecommerce businesses.

Build a connection with your customers.

Building an email list is a common tactic among ecommerce businesses to connect with customers and personalize the shopping experience. As a retailer, you can use the same approach of building contact details of your customers to connect with them. You can collect phone numbers or email addresses of your customers and send text and pictures to build a long-lasting relationship with them.

With an SMS tool like Twilio, you can send instant messages to stay connected with your customers at every step of the transaction. In fact, 98 percent of text messages sent are viewed and 90 percent read the text messages within the first three minutes. Instead of 24 hours, which is a typical turnaround for emails, you can respond to your customers almost instantly with SMS marketing.

Segment your connections.

To make the most out of your digital marketing campaigns, it’s imperative to understand how to segment your contact list of customers. Sending too many notifications will make your entire campaign irrelevant. With segmentation, you can classify your leads into a distinct groups based on their shopping behavior, which enables you to send them personalized, targeted notifications.

A few ways to categorize your leads are:

  • Demographics: Divide the list by demographics such as location, age or gender. If you don’t have demographics details of your customers, you can collect these details through contests or giveaways.

  • Purchasing history: Send custom notifications based on the purchasing history. For instance, by understanding the brand preferences of each customer, you can send a personalized notification when there is a new stock arrival of their preferred brand.

  • Loyalty programs: If you have loyalty programs in place, you can send custom notifications to delight and engage your loyal customers.

Create a loyalty program.

Do you want to increase the loyalty of your customers? Do you want to encourage repeat purchases? Then you need to start creating a loyalty program for your customers. Loyalty programs allow you to reward your repeat customers for making frequent purchases.

Related: How Loyalty Programs Are Emerging as Effective Marketing Tools

You can create a customer loyalty program by using a simple point system. Frequent customers can redeem their rewards by earning points through repeat purchases. The rewards can be anything that delights your customers, like discounts, freebies and so on.

Here are some ways to encourage people to be part of the loyalty program:

  • Present small rewards as a base offering.

  • Display comparative pricing of retail and club prices for different items at your store.

  • Reinforce the comparative pricing model at the point of purchase as well, and let your customers know also about other loyalty program benefits.

  • Promote your loyalty program through your outbound marketing campaigns.

Start a subscription model business.

Subscription model business is rapidly becoming the norm in every industry. Amazon Prime, for example, is predicted to be in more than half of US households by the year’s end. Subscription businesses capitalize on repeat purchases and convenience of your customers.

For instance, your customers don’t have to worry about running out of products that usually deplete on predictable schedules. It gives peace of mind to your customers since you can deliver the merchandise at their doorstep just when they need it. You can encourage your regular repeat customers to join your subscription program by offering special discounts and loyalty points.

By starting a subscription model, you get more control over revenue prediction that enables you to manage inventory better and optimize your expansion plan. Since this model also capitalizes heavily on customer retention, it’s a proven method to increase the ROI on your customer acquisition cost.

Related: 10 Subscription Companies to Start Now

Rather than seeing ecommerce businesses as the nemesis, traditional retailers can learn a lot by examining the tactics and practices of online retailers. Take one lesson at a time and start implementing it on your retail store.

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