Modern technology has made the shopping experience both more immersive and convenient. Now that many consumers have gotten used to online shopping, there’s no going back. On the flip side, however, it would be wrong to say that brick-and-mortar shopping experiences have become completely obsolete. In fact, in countries like the Philippines, malling culture remains strong. Both younger and older customers may still prefer to shop at a physical store where they can expect immediate assistance, instant gratification, and a tangible atmosphere.
Perhaps the best solution for an entrepreneur who owns a brick-and-mortar store is to see what they can gain from both worlds. Even if it takes extra effort to integrate the operations of an online store with its physical counterpart, and to onboard new technologies like a payment gateway Philippines-based e-commerce stores can vouch for, going the hybrid route may be the wise thing to do to ensure resilience and future growth potential for your business.
If you’re a small- or medium-sized enterprise (SME) or startup retailer looking to expand your operations and turn your brick-and-mortar business into a hybrid one, here are five practical tips to get you started:
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1) Invest in Your E-Commerce Website
The hybrid approach will not work if you treat your e-commerce website as a mere add-on to your physical store. Be ready to invest in a website that can capably deliver a shopping experience that’s just as excellent as your store’s physical location.
To ensure that your website can showcase your products in the most appealing way and provide your target audience with a seamless and user-friendly shopping experience, hire the services of a trusted web development company. Work with them to create a website that promises the following to your shoppers:
- Intuitive navigation
- A beautiful and appealing interface that reflects your brand
- A checkout process that’s both simple and secure
- Optimal mobile-friendliness for customers who will shop online
2) Optimize Your Online Payment Gateway
Online shoppers demand convenience and security when making their purchases, and your choice of payment gateway on your e-commerce website plays a key role in delivering both. An efficient online payment gateway will reliably facilitate transactions from a variety of cashless payment channels, instilling confidence in your customers whenever they proceed to checkout. You can also expect the right payment gateway to implement robust security measures, such as encryption and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates, that safeguard customer financial information.
When incorporating this feature into your website, make sure that you’re teaming up with a company that offers the best payment gateway services. The Philippines’ Maya Business, for example, offers plenty of business solutions that suit the needs of hybrid stores. Their online payment solutions will allow your e-commerce website to accept a diverse range of digital payments, from traditional card payments to e-wallet payments. Maya Business also allows you to install payment plugins that are compatible with different e-commerce platforms, such as Shopify and WooCommerce.
You can also get point of sale (POS) hardware upgrades from Maya Business to improve both your in-store and e-commerce website’s payment processes at the same time. Again, when converting your brick-and-mortar business into a hybrid one, you’ll want to make sure that both of your storefronts will visibly improve.
3) Consider Hiring an SEO Team to Boost Your Online Marketing
When transitioning to hybrid operations, simply having an online counterpart for your brick-and-mortar property is not enough. It’s also important to grow your visibility both online and offline, and for the former, this is where search engine optimization or SEO comes in.
The expertise of an SEO team will drive organic traffic to your e-commerce website and make it as easily searchable and appealing to visit as your physical store. Ask them to help you optimize your website’s content, structure, and metadata to align with search engine algorithms. Their efforts should improve your website’s ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs) and eventually get your e-commerce store to be as busy as its physical counterpart.
4) Partner with a Reputable Logistics Company for Hybrid Order Fulfillment and Shipping
It’s also worth it to invest in more efficient logistics solutions for both your physical and online stores. Partner with a logistics provider that can help you streamline your online order fulfillment and shipping processes to be in sync with the inventory management and storage processes of your physical store and its warehousing facilities.
A trusted logistics partner will also help you utilize real-time tracking, inventory reconciliation, and shipping, likely from a single centralized platform. Their expertise will be invaluable when it comes to navigating the complexities of online order processing and delivery on top of physical retail operations. This, in turn, should keep your customer satisfaction rate high for both.
5) Offer a Strong Post-Purchasing Experience
As a business owner, you may already know that your customers’ satisfaction doesn’t rely solely on the quality of your products. The buying process, including what happens after the purchase is made, is an equally important part.
That said, you should work to improve your post-purchasing experience, especially on your e-commerce website. Use your online platform to onboard a variety of customer support channels, like live chat and FAQs. All of these will do a lot to extend the warmth and graciousness of your in-store experience to your new e-commerce customers.
You can also provide your customers with timely and transparent updates on their order status, shipping details, and delivery times to help reduce uncertainty while showing that your business values customer satisfaction. A strong post-purchasing experience contributes to customer loyalty and repeat business, as happy customers are more likely to become advocates for shopping at both your online and offline properties.
There’s no question that it will be hard to manage customers from two different storefronts, but successful implementation of the hybrid model could double or even triple your revenue potential. Consider taking the opportunity to expand your business horizons and enjoy the benefits that come with doing business from both your website and your legacy physical store.
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