Brick-and-mortar retailers can offer personalized service, products to stay competitive

Many brick-and-mortar stores are worried about the growing popularity of online shopping.

Many brick-and-mortar stores are worried about the growing popularity of online shopping. Consumers have taken to the convenience of free store-to-door shipping, low pricing and huge inventories, Retail Customer Experience reports. There are a number of advantages that face-to-face shopping offers, and if businesses can harness those benefits, they can earn customer satisfaction and loyalty that will keep customers coming back.

One of the perceived advantages of ecommerce is the ability to capture customers' purchasing data so it can be leveraged to make more accurate, personalized product suggestions, the source reports, but brick-and-mortar stores have the same opportunity. Although retailers might not be able to make suggestions for each shopper based on sales data, they can research the customer demographics from each store and develop product and marketing strategies that appeal to them.

Creating the sense that the store understands what its customers' want and need can help turn shoppers into brand advocates. People are the other primary advantage brick-and-mortar stores have over web-based competitors. Sales associates can provide the personalized service that customers crave.

Forbes contributor Bridget Brennan wrote about her experience with customer service in Japan, explaining that she was thanked by more sales associates during an eight-day stay than she had been in her entire life. Brennan said that enthusiastic, helpful customer service representatives can make being sold a product an enjoyable experience. She cited being greeted upon entry, sent off with a goodbye and thanked for her patronage (even when she didn't make a purchase) as touchpoints that made her feel like companies deserved her

If businesses implemented better service strategies, they might be able to convert consumers into loyal shoppers. Women are responsible for nearly 80 percent of consumer spending, Brennan told the source, and they put extra stock in the quality of customer service. Store that are able to improve their service standards and offer customers personal recognition can encourage return visits and benefit from increases revenue.