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They are really ahead of the curve in terms of free online services to help online businesses. Every time a parcel is scanned, our website is pinged, meaning we can contact the customer. When a delivery scan is recorded, we email the customer to let them know. It saves them waiting three days, getting angry and then calling us. The latest BNZ Online Retail Sales Index covering the 12 months till the end of February , shows continued growth in online shopping — but with Kiwis continuing to buy more and more from international stores.
The BNZ report also drills down into exactly which product categories are being purchased from international sites:. No great surprise to see that Furniture is predominantly purchased from Kiwi suppliers: In retail, all our respondents with an online store said it was their fastest growing channel, but apart from the online-only operators online was still a small minority of sales. One service provider suggested that no more than 1 in 12 of New Zealand retailers were really doing a good job of integrating online and offline stores.
Retailers are experimenting online but there is still much to do. Internet services are seen as important and effective for marketing and, for a small but growing number of firms, for sales. The competitive impacts of total price transparency enabled by online shopping and competition from online and overseas retailers are evident for retailers operating in some categories.
The Sapere report included a number of interviews with NZ retailers, sharing their perspective on online retail:. One interviewee said that she foresaw a gloomy future for retailers selling goods exposed to overseas online competition who did not have a strong brand or a point of difference.
Bearing this out perhaps, we spoke to a jewellery retailer with a strong point of difference who saw no threat from the Internet. For that business the website and social media were channels for branding and advertising, and a useful addition to the print plus word of mouth model that had prevailed for a long time as the way to get work.
It was not clear in general in what circumstances online retail would add to total sales, whether it would just take share from another competitor or from the offline store, or whether it was additive to sales overall.
Some interviewees said that they were just pursuing every angle that they could that might generate more business, and expanding on the things that seemed to work.
One interviewee took the view that online sales were not additive at all at the sectoral level, i. This interviewee also said that having an offline store in an area helps to boost online sales in that area: Another large chain told us that its online store had a clear, material and positive impact on total sales, that customers spent more online than in store , and that this was because the online environment could better meet customer needs, rather than just diverting business from competitors.
One retail service provider was cautiously optimistic about the overall impact of the Internet on retail. Comparison shopping is now so easy, consumers are price conscious and better informed, but they are willing to purchase online or come in store if they find what they want and they know that you have it. The value of the item under consideration matters, according to the study, with more expensive items unsurprisingly more likely to be showroomed:.
Showrooming is said to have exacerbated the decline of high-profile brands like Comet. Gadget stores, bookshops and the cosmetics industry are all losing sales to showroomers, but solutions have proved hard to find. Owner of the gluten free produce store, Georgina, says she resorted to putting up the sign after spending hours each week giving advice to people who leave empty-handed.
About 60 people a week would go into the store, ask questions and then buy the same or similar product at a supermarket chain or online. She has became frustrated as her prices often match that of the supermarkets but people still go elsewhere as they are under the impression it will be cheaper. She says the sign has turned some people away but others are more sympathetic and pay up.
Australian Retailers Association executive director Russell Zimmerman says charging customers to browse will likely turn people away. Better instead, perhaps, to consider this American example. Time Magazine reports that leading U. A Blue Nile representative is on hand, iPad at the ready, to answer questions and help create customized rings. Why would Nordstrom want to be used so blatantly as a mere showroom for another retailer? For one thing, though the terms of the arrangement were not made public, Blue Nile most certainly is paying the department store for its prime retail space.
If that sort of partnership strategy is unlikely to work for you, here are some other possibilities. First, USA Today suggests these ten strategies:. For those who purchase from you, offer post-purchase support — lessons, personal set-up, service, telephone support. Make sure you prominently display the fact that such services are included after purchase for those who purchase from you. Become a desired destination for certain shoppers.
Become a place customers want to hang out. One Saturday night, they had a book swap. For a price, the bookseller offered food and wine and guests swapped books they loved with one another. It reminded me how wonderful it is to be surrounded by people who love books and reading and how fabulous it is to go to a vibrant, real bookstore. Create a membership programme. Why not turn customers into members? After all, outdoor sports retailer R. Members pay a small price but get a discount on purchases, invitations to special events, extra services, and a greater feeling of attachment to your store.
Engage with customers on social media. The closer customers feel to you, the more likely they are to be loyal. Allow customers to run a tab. Everyone loves to be considered a regular. If you sell something that customers purchase regularly — books, garden supplies, hardware — create a programme where they leave a credit card on file and just add to their tab when they come in.
Make sales from your website. Some customers may not be quite ready to buy when they come to your store but want to make an online purchase later. Small businesses have to go the extra mile to stay alive. Do everything you can to remind people what they lose when they fail to support local stores: Bricks-and-mortar retailers have a chance to salvage a sale that might not otherwise happen if the customer is merely shopping online.
Engage all five senses. Take advantage of the physical presence of the customer to wow them with sight, sound, touch, taste and smell. In-store consumers have more information than ever before. Customers also want to feel valued — and known — by the retailer. The battle for the retail floor is going to happen in the cloud [via] customer data and an understanding for customer preference. Retailers should provide customers with personalized content and offers at the point of decision. They can do this using information from a variety of sources … and combining it with the rich contextual signals that mobile devices provide.
Millennials are leading the way … but not for long Mark Logan, senior vice president of digital innovation at advertising agency Barkley and head of Moonshot Innovation Lab, says half of all millennials surveyed in reported using smartphones while shopping, compared with 21 percent of non-millennials.
Logan cites cosmetic retailer Sephora, which allows customers to scan a barcode for access to reviews and ratings. And for millennials — and those who follow — that might just be enough to close the sale. Place an ad Bikes. Top Forks Mountain Road. Featured Chain Guides Bottom Brackets.
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