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The New Customer – Are You Ready?

Last year Australians spent almost $15 billion shopping online. It’s the most we have ever spent via the internet and online sales are expected to keep trending upwards. Love on-line shopping or loath it, it’s here to stay - and it’s changed consumer behaviour forever.

The way we shop today is completely different to how we shopped just a few years ago.  Case in point: my trusty dishwasher died and, of course, the repair man advises it’s not worth fixing. Yes, it’s true that you don’t appreciate what you’ve got till it’s gone...

So I did what many of us would do - I looked on-line to see what my options were. Within an hour I had watched a few YouTube videos produced by online appliance stores, compared prices and read countless product reviews (Lucy from Williamstown do you really LOVE your dishwasher that much?).

I then headed to a local shop (yes, made from bricks and mortar), knowing exactly what I wanted and what I could expect to pay. I had my phone on hand to double check the online information whilst I was in store.

This is called omni-channel shopping.

How can a local Geelong retailer turn the threat of omni-channel shopping into an opportunity? Understand that buyer behaviour has changed and adapt to that change. Consumers are information rich and time poor. Smart retailers are innovating and learning how to compete with others that are probably not even in the same state, maybe not even in the same country.

Here are some marketing tips that can help:

  • Have a professional online presence that is up to date – show what stock you have in-store now – a 10 minute drive to your store can be more convenient than a two (or more) day wait for your purchase to arrive.

  • Make sure your sales people have as much, but preferably more, information than the customer. To sell in an omni-channel marketplace service is key and product knowledge is the basis of good customer service.

  • Embrace omni-chanel shoppers – provide them with Wi-Fi, give them a tablet. Be proud of the extras you can provide that online retailers can’t – like face-to-face conversations and the immediate touch-feel-and-take service. 

  • Have a robust customer database. Being personally greeted by name, having a sales person ask how the last product you purchased is performing or having them suggest a new product that compliments your last purchase, are all ways to build deeper relationships with your customers. And stronger relationships make it harder for them to shop elsewhere.

(Oh and I’m still deciding what model dishwasher I want.  There are so many options...)

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