Brick and mortar retail stores are under siege.
Not long ago, having a well-managed store in a good location and offering competitive prices were enough to ensure a thriving business. But the dramatic rise of e-commerce has left retail stores scrambling for customers and sales.
Now, customers walk the aisles of your stores, examining your merchandise, only to pull out their phones and order that exact merchandise from whichever e-commerce giant offers the lowest price and the fastest shipping. It’s called “showrooming,” and it’s just one of the many ways e-commerce sites are threatening your livelihood.
As a store-owner or marketer, your back is against the wall. What are you going to do to fight back?
How Digital Analytics Gives E-Commerce Marketers An Unfair Advantage
Brick and mortar chains of all sizes are feeling the impact of e-commerce.
Online sales are growing at twice the rate of in-store sales. As their share prices free-fall, retail giants Macy’s and Sears are shuttering 100 and 150 stores, respectively.
While the relative convenience of online shopping accounts for some of these challenges, digital analytics also gives e-commerce marketers a significant edge.
These advantages include data about:
- How many visitors reach their websites
- How long visitors spend on the sites
- Which pages they visit
- Whether or not they make purchases
- Site visitor return rates
E-commerce marketers also have an easier time collecting customer email addresses, preventing purchase abandonment and developing predictive models of customer purchase behavior.
Traditionally, brick and mortar stores have lacked technologies that generate revealing insights into customer behavior and improve customer targeting. But recently tools have emerged that narrow the gap.
How Brick And Mortar Stores Can Fight Back With Wi-Fi Marketing And Analytics
Wi-Fi marketing and analytics tools give brick and mortar stores a powerful weapon to narrow the gap with e-commerce.
By using your store’s Wi-Fi router to track Wi-Fi-enabled devices in the store, you can gain valuable insights about your customers, whether or not these customers log into your Wi-Fi.
This information includes:
- Visitors by day
- Visitors by hour
- The number of first-time visitors in any given period
- Visitor dwell time
Additionally, when these customers do log into your Wi-Fi, you can learn more about them and use that additional info to target them with special offers that increase visits and in-store purchases. You can even detect if these customers are about to leave the store without making a purchase, and send a discount offer directly to their device.
In other words, you can create a brick and mortar version of the cart abandonment offers e-commerce sites use to trigger purchases from customers.
Protecting Store Profits With Customer Data And Analytics
With revenues anything but guaranteed and retail rents on the rise, you need to be hawkish about protecting your store profits however you can. The data you collect through your Wi-Fi router helps you spot negative customer behavior trends before they have a chance to wipe out your sales.
With your router connected to a comprehensive Wi-Fi analytics platform, you’re able to understand:
- The average number of visits a customer makes during a given period
- Store ratings, which help you understand how customers feel about their in-store experiences
- How many former customers have stopped patronizing your store during any given period
- The average value of a customer during a given period
- The lifetime value of a particular customer
- The lifetime value of an average customer
- First-time customer rates
- Customer churn rates
- Customer return rates
With these data, you can understand which promotions are working and which aren’t. You can also adjust your marketing to reverse negative trends and help you boost sales in your stores.
Between the sales boosts you gain by analyzing customer data and the staffing efficiencies you create by understanding peak days and times of day, you can drive up revenue while cutting waste.
Fighting Back Against The Digital Barbarians At The Gate
While many customers continue to prefer in-store shopping to online purchasing, you can’t become complacent or take a “wait and see” attitude to determine if your stores will bounce back against online competitors. Instead, fight back by leveraging tools that offer a physical counterpart to the digital marketing and analytics tools e-commerce sites use.
The first step to overcoming competition from e-commerce is discovering how to turn your Wi-Fi router into a weapon in your ongoing battle to drive revenue in your stores.