Amazon has been changing the retail industry for more than two decades now – all by challenging the status quo and forcing its competitors to adopt the e-commerce approach in selling.
As a result, many retailers where Amazon operates have declared bankruptcy and closed their doors for good.
Yet, the so-called “Amazon Effect” is yet to be felt in the Australian retail landscape, according to some reports.
Since Amazon entered the Australian market in 2017 and launched the Amazon Prime in 2018, analysts, and some of the retailers themselves say they are still as profitable as before Amazon’s “underwhelming” launch.
There are many speculations as to why Amazon is not yet winning in Australian retail market.
However, all these do not guarantee that the situation will be the same months from now.
Therefore, it is critical for retail business owners to devise strategies to maintain their competitiveness once Amazon starts to gain traction in the local retail scene.
Here are five winning tips you can use to compete with online giants like Amazon.
1. Make Checkout Easier
Indeed, long checkout lines are one of the biggest reasons why many people opt to visit e-commerce websites these days.
In today’s fast-paced digital society, people are finding fewer reasons to shop at brick-and-mortar stores as more online shopping websites like Amazon offer virtually non-existent checkout times.
To combat this, retailers should experiment with technologies that would allow their patrons to shop without making them wait in lines or pay at cash registers.
In the U.S. retail market where the Amazon Effect is much more evident, retailers such as Macy’s and Kroger are starting to introduce mobile apps to make checkout more comfortable for their customers.
Using mobile checkout technology will not only enhance the overall in-store experience of the customers but can also be the first step for retailers to refresh their brand image to appear more contemporary and digital.
2. Provide Experiential Retail
Another way for retailers to combat Amazon is to leverage its biggest advantage: having a physical space to conduct in-store events.
Known as experiential retail, this strategy is getting more popular among retailers over the recent years – and for a good reason.
According to the National Retail Federation’s 2017 “Consumer View” report, 49% of people are now shopping more often than they used to because of new entertainment or food options in the store.
This is in line with another study which found that in-store shopping experience is still a major factor among consumers these days.
As a result, more and more retailers are now leveraging rising technologies such as virtual and augmented reality to enhance their shopping experience.
These new platforms will not only make your typical retail space more exciting but will also help your customers explore option and find products that match their unique needs.
3. Capitalise Reverse Showrooming
Showrooming – customers using their phones to search for product reviews in stores then buying the product online – is once the most dreaded phenomenon by retailers when online shopping exploded years ago.
However, a recent report from Business Insider reveals that retailers have discovered “reverse showrooming,” which is when consumers go online to research products, but then head to a retail store to complete their purchase.
According to the report, reverse showrooming has become more common than showrooms these days.
In the U.S. 69% of people reverse showroom, while only 46% showroom, according to a Harris survey.
The benefits of reverse showrooming are that it allows shoppers to find sales, discounts, and information about the products that interest them before coming into your store to make a purchase at their leisure and often when stores are closed.
While this strategy will require you to incorporate online marketing into your marketing mix, you can ensure that you will have more customers and more sales than you thought possible.
4. Empower Retail Employees
In a new report incorporating research and analysis from The Economist Intelligence Unit, it was revealed that 75% of retailers in the U.S. have trained their staff to become more knowledgeable and 61% have trained them to be more focused on customer service.
In doing so, they were able to bolster their most significant strength against standalone websites – personal interaction with their employees.
While retailers can invest in new technologies and devise new in-store experience strategies to boost their sales, it would all fail without a team of employees trained in retail customer service.
In fact, nearly three out of four customers stay with business because of good service, according to an Oracle Corporation report, and more than half stick around because they’ve had easy times finding answers and help with customer service representatives.
Other retailers like Walmart and Target have followed this, hiking wages and improving training in order to deliver better customer service.
As a result, their same-store sales and traffic have improved despite the reign of Amazon in their home turf.