Recreating the In-Store Experience for Online Customers

By Greta Stojanovic | 07 Jun 2013

While retailers may no longer need bricks and mortar outlets in order to sell product, there is a lot that in-store offerings can teach online retailers.

We may be living in a digital world where the rise of online has been astronomical, however the consumers purchasing retailer products remain very much in the ‘real world’. These customers are still demanding tangible goods and have very real expectations on service standards.

Whatever you’re retailing, it’s important to allow online customers to have all of the comforts of an in store purchase direct from the living room.

But what does the shop visit offer that online retailers need to consider?

ASOS package1. Try Before You Buy

Allow for sampling.

The physical store has always allowed the perfect opportunity for the customer to try a product first. Sampling business like Lust have it! are built solely around this model – our customers sample and try products that are mailed to them in order to decide if they want to purchase the full sized product in our online store. This however is not the only method of sampling – a returnable and refundable delivery is equally as effective.

ASOS in the UK go so far as providing parcels with a return form enclosed – complete with a checkbox that queries if you’re returning the item because it’s the additional one you purchased only for sizing purposes. This is an impressive way to move towards providing in store benefits.

2. Asking Advice from the Shop Assistant

In the ‘olden days’ shopkeepers were there to educate and gently coerce your customers into a sale.

Online stores are no different and still need to rely on the digital shop assistant. Who is that digital shop assistant?

She exists everywhere – in your FAQs, product pages, blog posts and your key social media channels. Customers still need to learn about your product and a picture does not paint a thousand sales. Online stores need so much more – including active promotion of products through social media.

Lust Have It! lipgloss3. Placing the Lipgloss and Impulse Purchases at the Counter

It’s no secret that websites need to be optimised for sales however a lot of online retail channels are yet to catch up.
This is no different to Sportsgirl putting their lipgloss at the counter for you to consider right at the time you’re ready to pull out the credit card. Where in your online store are you able to ensure this happens?

4. A Carefully Considered Shopping Route

Similar to the above point, a trip to Ikea will make you dizzy with all of the carefully planned ‘S bends’. We all leave exhausted with our trolleys full because we’ve managed to look at and consider every product on offer. This is cleverly done with the perfect use of floorspace. Being an online retailer doesn’t mean you have any excuse to not make use of your ‘digital floorspace’

Where are the ‘S bends’ in your customers online journey?

5. ‘Flagship Store’ is not a Dirty Word

There is a trend which will continue, it’s called ‘clicks and mortar’.

The combination of a physical presence combined with an online outlet can be powerful and incredible from a branding point of view. Just because you’re online doesn’t mean you have no physical presence in the real world.

No matter how you slice it, there’s plenty left for us all to learn from the good old fashioned street-level store.

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