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How Your Business Can Survive the Pandemic

It may seem like the end times for retail. But smart retailers have already begun preparing for a retail revolution.

Many businesses and consumers alike have been dragging their feet when it comes to eCommerce. Whether a preference for the status quo, resistance to change, or a preference to touch and feel the product before committing to a purchase, people still wanted to go shopping in-person.

As consumers now have little choice but to shop from home, many businesses are scrambling to shift their focus to their eCommerce business. But it isn’t too late – if you take action now, you can maximize your eCommerce business and capitalize on a huge opportunity. In our current climate, instead of relying on foot traffic, anyone in the world can be a potential customer. Here’s how to shift your focus onto what could potentially be a limitless revenue stream, sans the overhead associated with brick-and-mortar.

#1 Shift Your Workforce

Shuttering stores doesn’t have to equate to redundant positions. Utilize and retrain your in-store staff for your online customer service team. Chances are they’re already fully educated on merchandise information as well as how to foster a personal connection with customers. Armed with product knowledge, a unified agent desktop will reduce training times for your existing workforce, enabling them to transition readily to online sales. Powerfront even offers a real-time video shopping solution, allowing a virtual personal shopper located in-store to assist a customer at home.

#2 Rethink Your Real Estate

As early as 2018, Target and Zumies were shifting away from more square footage and repurposing their existing stores as distribution centers. This is a great way to keep your staff and customers engaged and move some existing product. Offer free ship-to-store for curbside pick-ups, or allow customers to ship from a store near them in order to reduce wait times and warehouse overload.

#3 Differentiate Yourself

A major mistake the aforementioned company made was its failure to differentiate itself from competitors. As digitally-savvy competitors grew, they carried on as usual and expanded in the wrong areas. Rather than focusing on their digital presence and the products customers returned for most often, they expanded into various departments with little research that these were items customers would turn to them to shop for. Put simply, if you’re known for your apparel basics, on what basis would you decide to also expand into electronics and home goods? Adding more product is not always better, instead pinpoint a niche market. Other large department stores are seeing success adding smaller specialized storefronts focused on specific departments – it’s smart to hone in on your strengths rather than trying to offer everything.

#4 – Choose the best tools

Many industry laggards who failed to invest correctly in their eCommerce business are paying the price now. Cutting corners means spending more money and resources later on down the road as more and more retail shifts to digital channels and your online business’s needs exceed budget solutions’ capabilities. Your eCommerce overhead will be significantly lower than your brick-and-mortar, and sales will continue to increase if digital shopping channels are properly executed and maintained. Invest in the best online retail solutions, provide the same service on your website as you would in stores, and watch your eCommerce sales grow.

#5 – Recreate the in-store experience online

Industry leaders are adopting tools that will enable their employees to connect with online shoppers via the channel of their choice – chat, messaging, SMS, email, Facebook, Twitter, or even video call. At the press of a button, shoppers can immediately connect with a sales advisor at a store near them. The sales associate can then walk customers through products in detail and demonstrate features, visualize true colors, and showcase new products. Sales associates can view the customer’s online purchase history, shopping cart contents, and more in order to provide a more satisfying, highly personalized shopping experience to the online customer. This emerging technology allows shoppers who may be hesitant to make purchases sight unseen comfortably and safely transition to online shopping.

Ready to find out how your business can replicate the in-store experience online? Contact us now.

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