eCommerce for Hardware Retailers; How do traditional brick-and-mortar stores connect with the Internet generation?
Like many industries, retail has always been in a constant state of evolution. Throughout the years, the industry has adapted to consumers and reflected several factors, including technology, market trends, and lifestyle. It’s no surprise that we live in an internet-savvy, technology-driven society. But the question that remains, then, is how do traditional businesses, like Hardware Retailers, connect with the Internet generation and remain both profitable and successful/relevant?
Digitalization- Enhancing the Customer Experience
When today’s customers shop, they use everything from traditional brick-and-mortar stores to websites and social media apps. Customers expect connected journeys - and about 76 percent of customers expect consistent interactions across departments. With an integrated omnichannel strategy, hardware retailers can provide personalized shopping experiences, which in turn fosters greater satisfaction and loyalty. In addition, leveraging online data analytics effectively enables retailers to better understand their online and in-store customers’ wants, needs, and preferences.
According to an article featuring Deanna Moreno Hernandez, mobile marketing senior manager at Ace Hardware, focusing on innovating only one sales channel will likely limit opportunities and provide retailers with difficulties generating consumer loyalty. “Brands should instead take hybrid approaches to customer relationships, maintaining both the speed expected from online and mobile platforms as well as in-store shopping’s convenience and tactile advantages,” Hernandez states. Connecting this online and traditional in-person approach can also help retailers maintain consumers’ trust.
Adapting the Retail Environment
As important as it is for Hardware Retailers to have a successful online presence, there are also ways for retailers to connect to the Internet generation, inside the walls of their store. One SYNNEX Corp study provides a few of the main ways in which traditional business owners can do so to ensure success:
Tablets and mobile devices for employees
When sales staff are granted access to tablets, smartphones and other devices, they can utilize real-time data to offer a personalized experience for a wider range of consumers. In the application, associates can view inventories of products in different sizes and colors. Tablets with POS software can also increase a retailer's checkout speed. When sales associates can complete transactions from anywhere in the store, it greatly improves the checkout experience for guests, creating efficiency.
In today’s digital age, many hardware retailers are also forced to consider the use of digital signage for its immediate impact on sales. In fact, approximately 74% of retailers in the United States alone believe that creating an engaging in-store customer experience is critical to the success of their business. Using digital signage to educate customers is even more important in a hardware store. It can be used to raise brand awareness, share testimonials and recommendations, enhance the store environment, and provide expert advice on demand. For example, signage TV screens in a hardware store can be used to influence the decisions that customers make – and provide guidance for them in the process.
Millennials’ hunger for technology means every industry, including retail, should plan for capacity growth and greater flexibility in their networks to address societal changes. Retailers will need networks with greater bandwidth to support the growing use of technology in the retail environment – especially prioritizing fast internet.
Riverstrong’s Hardware Retail Solutions
At Riverstrong, we understand that internet connectivity is a non-negotiable business imperative. Our decades of hardware retail expertise empower us to keep retailers online and ensure that their hardware, software, and connectivity devices remain available 24/7. We know what Hardware Retailers need to connect to the internet generation – and work diligently to optimize the networking of the entire storefront to unlock its full potential.
Because the retail industry is always in a state of evolution, we understand the importance of adapting with it to ensure continued success.
To learn more about how Riverstrong can transform your IT environment to make your store more efficient, agile, and secure, get in touch with us today!