What the Future Brings for Local Retailers

what the future brings local retailersAs e-tailers continue to gain a larger share of shopping revenue each year, traditional retailers have been forced to remain competitive. While many now use the Internet to monitor competitor prices, remaining relevant in an online world extends well beyond pricing. Local businesses must find ways to attract customers beyond competitive prices. A blending of the online and offline world is the best way to allow customers to enjoy the best of all worlds.

Existing Demand

The prevalence of showrooming in brick-and-mortar stores highlights the need for integration between technology and the store experience. Instead of waiting for customers to check competitor prices, businesses can have in-store competitor price monitoring software. A screen can be placed next to an item, for instance, showing the price of that item at other locations, both online and locally. However, to put this technology in place, businesses will have to constantly monitor competitors’ prices to ensure their products remain competitive.

In-Store Ordering

This in-store technology could also provide businesses the opportunity to allow customers to order out-of-stock items online. Having technology in place that shows its price is the lowest will provide the incentive a customer needs to order the item for home delivery rather than leaving to purchase the item from a competitor. Even if an item takes a few days to ship, a customer may be willing to wait after seeing on-screen proof that he or she will save money by doing so.

Monitor Buying Behavior

Even with competitor price monitoring software in place, local retailers will be required to closely watch the buying behaviors of customers. Online retailers are increasingly using big data to track the behaviors of customers and local stores will be expected to do the same. Through the use of heat-mapping cameras in stores, business can monitor foot traffic and note activities such as showrooming. If customers seem to engage in the live version of shopping cart abandonment after comparing prices on a mobile device, this could serve as an alert that something might be off with a store’s pricing. This technology gives local retailers the same edge online retailers have in watching customer behavior.

As online retailers become more competitive, traditional businesses will be tasked with finding a way to gain an edge. Customer service and immediacy are a draw, but in many instances, customers are primarily are interested in getting the best deal. By merging technology and the in-store experience, businesses can avoid destructive showrooming by consistently showing that they not only offer a great in-store experience with excellent customer service, but that they consistently offer low prices and good value.

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