Who’s Dominating Retail—Online Shopping or Brick-and-Mortar?

Who could have predicted that a small discount book website would grow into Amazon, the multi-billion-dollar online shopping business? 

Brick-and-mortar businesses can feel intimidated by this online shopping giant; it can even seem impossible to compete. But by taking a closer look at Amazon’s success, businesses with a physical location can improve their game and win customers back. 

What is Amazon really selling? Convenience.

Amazon has invested a lot of money and manpower into creating a seamless experience for the user. Amazon customers buy with a single click. Amazon Prime ships in two days. Amazon Key lets delivery people leave packages right inside your garage. Everything is easy, simple, and fast. 

By making your customers’ experience as smooth as possible, you can imitate Amazon’s success and gain repeat customers. 

Having a physical location can even offer elements of convenience that online retailers can’t. Two-day shipping may be fast, but it will never be as fast as going to a physical store and immediately picking up an item. Instead of sending back an online order and waiting for a refund, customers can go straight into brick-and-mortar locations and receive a refund instantly. 

Brick-and-mortar stores aren’t going anywhere, but it’s also essential for them to have a well-polished online presence. This means an attractive website, great online reviews, and a way to quickly and easily communicate with the business. 

The #1 Way to Beat Online Megastores

Another thing online megastores like Amazon or Walmart lack is fast and convenient customer communication. Customers may have to email the company and wait a few hours or days for a response. If they have a follow-up question, that’s another few hours or days. 

If a customer calls an online retailer, they can be put on hold for minutes or hours, only to be redirected and put on hold again. Or maybe the online store will have a webchat, but customers have to be on the website until the conversation is done.

Maybe the webchat directs them to an outsourced customer service agent with limited knowledge of the business. All these scenarios end up giving the customer a headache. Headaches are not convenient. Smaller businesses are able to communicate with their customers in a better way. 

With tools like Podium Webchat, conversations will redirect automatically from your website to the customer’s phone as a text message. 

Giving people an easy way to message you is like standing in your store isles, waiting to be of assistance to a customer. Through texting, you can help customers find what they’re looking for, make a selection, and check out. They can even pay through a secure text with Podium Payments. 

Look at this example from Walton Jewelers:

text thread with a customer

Without Webchat, Hayden might have moved on after browsing their online inventory. Instead, Walton Jewelers was able to respond almost immediately and keep the conversation going through text. 

Walton Jewelers gave Hayden a compelling reason to visit the store and was able to quickly and easily schedule an appointment at his convenience. They also automatically scheduled an appointment reminder, which improved the overall customer experience and increased the likelihood of Hayden actually showing up.

Close the Loop with Messaging Tools 

Every customer is a little different, but they all crave convenience—a shorter commute, a faster checkout, and a smoother customer journey. Podium’s customer messaging tools help customers find your business, conveniently connect with you, and choose you over and over. Because what’s good for them, is good for business. 

Get Found by Showing Up First

The first step in any customer’s journey is finding your business. Finding a business today typically means searching online. But even without a website, an exceptional local business can still be found with a compelling Google Business Profile. The best Google Business Profiles showcase glowing reviews and give searchers a taste of what it’s like to visit the business.

google business profile statistic

It’s no coincidence that the businesses ranking at the top of local search results are also the most highly recommended. On average, customers see a 98% increase in website visits from their Google Business Profile after adopting Podium, and a 71% increase in Google Business Profile views from local search. Podium integrates with the most popular review sites to make sure you’re showing up where it matters. 

Connect with Website Visitors

Getting found by potential customers doesn’t do any good if you can’t close the deal. Podium Webchat provides your customers with a convenient way to interact with you—and keeps the conversation going offline. The more you interact with potential customers, the more opportunity they have to see how amazing your business is. 

Collect Payments Via Text

Your customers don’t want to jump through hoops to make a purchase. By texting them a secure payment link, customers can make a purchase without any clunky, unnecessary steps. Podium Payments creates a seamless transition from messaging to closing the deal.

texting a customer

Press Send with Podium

Podium offers a suite of tools that can help communicate more with prospects and convert more leads. From getting found online to winning repeat business, Podium powers every step. It’s the simplest way to connect to consumers by pressing send—talking to customers, collecting reviews, and gathering insights in real-time through text. 

  • Press send to convert more leads with frictionless communication 
  • Press send to retain customers by staying connected to them throughout the customer journey 
  • Press send to save time by making work more efficient for you and your team

Learn more about how you can add convenience to your business with Podium. Watch a demo here.

Logan Wooden
Logan Wooden Product Marketing Manager, Retail

Logan Wooden is a Product Marketing professional at Podium, the premiere marketing and communications platform that connects local businesses with their customers.

Adapt the way you do business. Press send.