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How to Differentiate Your In-Store Experience and Stay Competitive in 2018

Toys R Us, Nine West, Claire’s, and The Bon-Ton Stores have all declared bankruptcy recently.

…And you constantly hear the same old,”We can’t compete with Amazon,” line.
Is it a just a “line?”

Yes!

You can’t compete directly with Amazon. They’re really a tech company who dominates online retail.

But you can beat them at what they don’t do – brick-and-mortar retail. And you don’t need to worry that you will fail.

Maybe you can’t overcome the Amazon behemoth. But, you can absolutely grow and thrive in retail in 2018 and beyond if you have brick-and-mortar stores.

Just like anything else in business, you have to adapt and change. 9 of the top 10 retailers on the National Federation of Retailers’ 2017 Top 100 Retailers list have physical stores. So it’s totally possible to have them and lead the market.

The lone exception?

Amazon!

And here’s how you can survive and thrive with a differentiated in-store experience:

1. Make the Customer Journey Take the Fewest Steps Possible

Online, smart retailers understand every click their customers take to make a purchase. You need to have that same understanding and mindset with your in-store experience.

Your customers need to have absolutely no resistance to making their purchase whatsoever. Every step, no matter how small, is a negative.

You must study exactly how customers use your store, and learn what you can do to make their experience quick and easy.

2. A Truly Unique In-Store Experience

In their flagship store in New York City, Adidas allows you to buy juice and snacks, offers a personal fitness consult area, and even lets you customize your shoes and clothing.

Costco delivers a number of other services consumers may find interesting. They have a photo development center, prescription drug area, do car tire-changes, an available optometrist, and a number of other services they switch from time-to-time.

Kohls tried adding a Starbucks in-store in some of their Wisconsin stores. The idea didn’t work and eventually got canned.

…But that doesn’t mean it was a bad idea. They tried and tested adding value to their customers’ in-store experience.

Perhaps something in the execution went wrong. Maybe customers didn’t want to hold a coffee while shopping.

Who knows?

But, the point is Kohls does pay attention to innovating.

How can you apply the same thinking to your own store?

3. Hyper-Personalization

We’ve discussed personalization before. And now we’re going to expand the conversation.

Around half of consumers want a “hyper-personalized” experience, but less than a quarter get it. Smart retailers allow customers to login to their online accounts and view their purchase history, which associates then analyze and use to help customers meet their needs.

Can you survive and thrive with multiple stores in 2018 and beyond?

Yes.

You just have to be willing to fully commit to adapting to market changes.