Dharmesh Kothari, Co-Founder & Director, Burnbill
For generations, the basics of retail shopping have remained more or less the same. People who want to buy something usually go to a nearby store or look up ads in newspapers for discounts or deals before making a purchase. However, with technology playing an important part in our daily lives, customers are now heavily dependent upon the internet and their smartphones to make purchase decisions. With e-Commerce being one of the biggest disruptors in retail, ventures such as Burnbill are heavily investing in technology that connects offline retailers with their customers virtually. They are keen to establish a strong connection between shoppers and brick-and-mortar stores using technology and want to help retailers reach out to customers quickly, regardless of where the customers might be.
The first massive online transaction started with the Indian Railways. The unique ticketing system made booking railway tickets easier and faster. Soon, the entire travel and hospitality industry had adopted technology to ensure smoother systems, more compelling promotional deals and best-rate offers. Presently, the travel industry has gone almost completely online and has been a pioneer in the app & online eco-system by partnering with online travel portals. In the same way, it’s time for local businesses and retailers to respond to the changing customer preferences with the help of technology. It is not a case of competition between technology versus interaction, reality & experience oriented shopping versus virtual shopping, but an ideal coming together of the offline and the online mode. It provides a brick-and-mortar retailer a new opportunity to maintain relations with buyers, inform them about exclusive discounts and deals to sustain, and expand, a loyal buyer base.
By Establishing an Online Presence, Local Businesses & Merchants can:
1. Gain good visibility online and offline
2. Boost their brand and build trust in the minds of customers
3. Generate multiple channels of discovery from customers
4. Increase transactional frequency
5. Build loyalty and retain customers
6. Increase probability of repeat transactions
While many big brands and businesses in the retail industry have waded into the waters of e-Commerce, the time has come for local businesses and retailers to dive in. There is no overstating the fact that technology has fast cemented an important position in human lives. Shoppers have adopted technology and are making use of mobile apps like never before. In this scenario, every retailer should try and figure out several ways to be present on tech-enabled platforms and stay connected with shoppers. There is a thriving ecosystem of online marketing platforms, social media marketing, local directories & apps, local loyalty platforms, local transactional platforms and much more that already exists to be utilized by brick-and-mortar stores.
Problems Local Retailers Face Currently:
In the age of advanced technology, retailers are still investing a lot of money in traditional marketing techniques such as billboards & posters, handouts, pamphlets and newspapers. They can neither cater to the mass, nor enjoy the immediacy or the flexibility that digital promotions offer. Many retailers believe that connecting with customers via the conventional methods is an easy solution and that apps are costly to build. Unfortunately, the reality is that a local retailer needs to have a deep understanding of technology to launch the right product through the correct medium and woo customers. Retailers also need to understand that a majority of their customers have embraced the online eco-system and modern customers conduct extensive research and possess a lot of know-how before making a purchase.
By going online, retailers can reach out to the customers 24x7, and by advertising in the space which they are most familiar with, retailers can leverage their real-time reachability to disrupt the e-Commerce dominance. In short, going online and providing cashback reward programs or other attractive deals can bring in a horde of buyers in through the doors! These methods are touted to be some of the best ways to steal the limelight and increase sales. There is no sure-shot formula to gaining success in the online space, but it has been observed that customers are appreciative of cashbacks, and will look up to the nearest retailer for discounts and rewards.
In a nutshell, if you closely look at it, the buying patterns of a consumer are fast changing and making use of technology is sure to help every retailer sustain in the long run. Within this rapidly evolving environment, local retailers need to leverage the right technologies to unlock more opportunities and generate higher footfalls. By making their retail stores a part of the worldwide web, retailers can enjoy the traction which they truly deserve.