In an ever-growing e-commerce market, local retailers are offering what online shopping cannot: the social experience. Instead of just cutting prices and striking deals this holiday season, stores upped their creative game to attract more customers. Dallas stores hosted parties, added online and in-person tutorials, and invited shoppers to take plenty of pictures.
Last week, Wal-Mart surprised customers with cakes and cobblers with in-store holiday parties. The home décor store, Wisteria, offered Instagram-perfect décor for photo ops. And if customers couldn’t get that selfie angle just right, there was a photographer on duty to take photos—for free. Kohl’s even brought out the big man himself, with not just one Santa, but a Santa in each of their 1154 stores.
Bridging the gap
It can be hard for brick-and-mortar stores to compete with the prices and convenience of online shopping. This year has seen a record number of store closings nationwide, while online sales continue to rise, growing 26% over last year. But when retailers get creative, they can help bridge the gap between online and in-person shopping. Making stores more technology-friendly and encouraging shoppers to use social media in-store are just some of the ways retailers can draw out the shoppers.
Big brands such as Best Buy, Home Depot, and Target have a same-day pickup for online orders. Retailers, restaurants, and grocers have also begun offering curbside pickup. Home improvement stores and home décor retailers drive online and in-person shopping by offering tutorials, shopping tips, and interactive catalogs. J.C. Penney is among the rising number of stores with their own mobile apps that allow for price checking, digital coupons, and even in-store maps.
Offering the perfect combination of online and in-person shopping will be critical for brick-and-mortar retailers to continue to compete. Amazon may have the biggest cut of the pie, but if a customer wants to sample that pie—or cobbler—they still must do it in person.