Although it may seem like retail is a digital game, physical stores still have their charm, particularly as the DTC market becomes more and more saturated. With a brick-and-mortar operation, new customer acquisition costs are lower, opportunities for the human touch are greater and brands have a physical experience through which to thrive.
But to succeed, every aspect of the physical store should be strategic and personalized for shoppers. Make sure you're positioned to deliver by capturing the right insights.
Physical stores promise a lot of value
The numbers tell us that more brands are opening physical stores. The Wall Street Journal reported that 2Q22 vacancy rates hit a 15-year low at 6.3%. Just one quarter later, the rate lowered even further to 4.3%. One big reason for the return to brick and mortar is that it’s increasingly expensive to acquire online customers—to the tune of $29 lost for every customer acquired. The online advertising space is simply too crowded, and new privacy regulations make it even more difficult to target customers.
Physical stores offer a cheaper alternative, and they’re also a logical next step for DTC brands that have achieved a lot of ecommerce success but need a new growth vehicle.
Experience is the #1 priority
Another difficult reality for ecommerce is that a digital experience is isolating. Site visitors are left to navigate the experience relatively unassisted and resolve service issues through impersonal forms. Those customer experiences are powerful—and they can make or break a brand’s profitability. Excel at customer service and generate revenue 5-8% above the market—or drop the ball one time and lose valued customers.
When nurturing customer relationships, the personal touches are everything. PWC customer loyalty survey, a third of respondents identified human connection as essential to loyalty. Experience and human connection are both infinitely easier to pull off in a physical store. Depending on the nature of the product, physical stores can help foster a sense of community among like-minded people that’s difficult to achieve through virtual experiences alone. When Bandit Running, for example, debuted a physical store in Brooklyn, the brand’s leaders discovered that the physical location helped to foster a more genuine connection with the New York running community.
But great store experiences don’t just happen
Human connection and a great in-store experience both depend on a strong foundation of personalization. You need a comprehensive understanding of what customers want, where, when and how before you can craft a truly impactful store experience. Consider elements like inventory assortment, product placement, store layout—even the geographical location of the store itself.
Beyond the products you sell, you also need to make strategic decisions about store events, community partnerships, pop-ups and more. Do you have the insights to respond directly to customers’ interests and preferences? By hitting the right notes in these areas, you can create a stronger sense of personal affinity and belonging with customers through your physical store presence.
Understand ALL your customers with first-party data
Ultimately, the best way to craft the in-store experience is to gather insights directly from customers’ actual purchasing behaviors. This can be difficult because many brick-and-mortar operations lack the ability to identify the individual behind in-store transactions. This information is not an automatic record as with ecommerce transactions, and without it, you’re left to speculate based on online behaviors and demographics.
Offline identity resolution can help you leverage card transaction data in a privacy-safe way to identify, understand and engage ALL your in-store shoppers—not just those who enroll in loyalty programs. Once you have this information, you can begin to build unified profiles for maximum segmentation and precision targeting.
Drive growth with the right insights
An in-store experience could be the next growth vehicle for your brand—but only if you can deliver the right level of personalization. You need a rich foundation of verified, first-party insights to truly meet the needs of your in-store customers.
We help brick-and-mortar retailers solve the unknown in-store customer challenge with our exclusive offline identity solution with industry-leading match rates and accuracy. We can help you build longitudinal profiles on all your customers – online, offline, known, unknown, loyalty and non-loyalty – to create dynamic campaign audiences drawing from over 300 attributes including purchase history, demographics, and socioeconomic and lifestyle factors.
Personalize based on actual purchases, preferred items, frequency, price sensitivity, promotional history, daypart and channel preferences with Bridg. Contact us to learn more.