Saturday, June 01, 2013

How To Leverage The Potential Of Web to Store?

I'd like to thank PPC, a famous French blogger and friend, that tweeted a grat article (in French) on how to leverage the potential of Web to Store.

Indeed, a lot of retail professional complains on the new hype of "show rooming", the fact that customers tend to visit stores to see and touch products, get information by the sales person, and then compare prices at home to finish up buying at home, most of the time on a competitor's website.

The show rooming trend is hitting hard some retailers working on the cultural goods, like Virgin in France, Barnes & Noble in the US, and also the high tech retailers, like Best Buy, or Darty in France.

Nevertheless, there are also ways to leverage the Internet in order to create foot traffic in stores. This is what the article calls "the Web to Store".

There are 4 ways to use the web to store approach:
  1. Couponning: Propose to customers to print online coupons to use in stores.
  2. Store locator: Allow customers to prepare their visits on line by giving them extensive information on how to get to your point of sales.
  3. Click & Collect: The shopper shops on line, but get its product at the point of sales. The advantage for both the customers and the retailer is that you save expenses on the delivery trip. The retailer may also trigger additional sales thanks to the visit.
  4. The shopping preparation: Sometimes the web is better to get information, and to finish up the work in store. I believe that works a lot for purchases with a long decision making process, that will need the advocacy of a sales representative.
Despite the fact I believe web to store may help one store to raise its sales and in overal, grow the whole business (both online and in store), I believe that in overal, the rise of Internet will destruct in the end the performances of traditional stores. But in the end, companies that will be able to set a strong position online with a great quality network of stores have a great advantage upon competition. 

What do you think about it?