A new study found that 54% of U.S. consumers now prefer shopping online over shopping in-person. This is a trend that could hint at impending trouble for brick-and-mortar outlets.
But what if you could appeal to customers who prefer online shopping with real-world offerings?
If you could replicate a customer’s digital journey in real life, you might see a significant uptick in interest from your target audience.
Thankfully, that’s not just wishful thinking. With digital signage, you can bring the best of online shopping to your retail stores to appeal to a broader base of customers.
Keep reading to learn how to get started.
Understanding the digital buying journey
The buyer’s journey is something that marketing and sales professionals spend a lot of time thinking about. But what is it, really?
Put simply, the buyer’s journey is the process that a buyer goes through before making a purchase.
That means the digital buying journey is the process someone goes through before making a purchase online.
Why it matters
If you understand the buyer’s journey well, you have much greater insight into what it takes to convert leads.
You can use this information to optimize your business processes so that there’s minimal resistance between your target audience and your products.
Ultimately, this can help you increase the number of sales that you get.
The customer’s journey in three phases
Experts tend to talk about a customer’s path to purchase in three distinct phases: awareness, consideration, and decision.
These form a funnel, which gradually pushes customers closer to purchase. We’ll take a closer look at each stage in this section to give you a better sense of what you’ll need to replicate in your stores.
Stage 1: Awareness
Think of the awareness stage as the wide mouth of the funnel. It’s when a consumer is first aware that they have a problem they’d like to resolve.
They don’t understand the full scope of the problem at this stage. Rather, they’re starting to perform very early research to gain a better sense of what exactly they need to do to eliminate a pain point that they’re experiencing.
Stage 2: Consideration
Next up is the consideration phase. At this point of the process, the buyer looks at potential solutions for the problem that they began researching in the first stage.
At this stage, a person isn’t necessarily comparing and contrasting solutions from different companies. Instead, they’re just trying to get a general sense of what’s out there.
Stage 3: Decision
Finally, we reach the decision phase. Here, buyers start taking a more serious look at specific solutions to their problems.
They may compare company reviews, reach out to sales reps and visit product pages on websites, among other actions. The customer finishes their buying journey after completing this stage.
Identifying the digital shopping features that matter
You have to understand the benefits that customers get out of shopping online before you can replicate them in the real world.
So here are three things that you’ll want to be sure your in-person shopping experience has, in order to compete with its virtual counterparts.
Perhaps the biggest reason that 80% of Americans shop online is convenience. When you go online, you can get virtually anything that you want at any time of day from the comfort of home.
Of course, you can’t replicate that experience entirely in your retail store. But you can try to bring the principle of this type of convenience to your brick-and-mortar locations.
That could include making sure that you have enough kiosks so that customers don’t have to wait to use them. Or it might mean ensuring that you have everything a customer can order at a kiosk in stock.
However you do it, the key is just making sure that you make your in-person digital shopping experience as convenient for your guests as you possibly can.
Customers also generally enjoy a much greater selection online than they do in brick-and-mortar stores. That’s because online shops aren’t limited to keeping in stock only what they can stock on their shelves.
You can embrace this principle by ensuring that you have as many different products in stock at your physical stores as possible.
But it’s also a smart move to let customers buy things on your kiosks that you don’t have in stock at the moment. That way, you’re offering a real representation of the online shopping experience.
Easy access to information
Customers also love to shop online because it’s typically much easier to perform research while shopping online.
With a few clicks, a shopper can read through testimonials, look up YouTube reviews and find all of the other information that they need to make a purchasing decision.
Many stores can’t match this, but yours can with a digital signage-based solution. In addition to allowing your customers to shop at your kiosks, consider also letting them do research.
It could help to make your customer’s buying journey feel more authentic to the one they have online.
Bringing the digital customer journey to your store
Now that we know what a great digital buying journey looks like, let’s examine how to bring that experience to your store. Here are five steps to follow to get there.
Figure out what your customers want
Before you start designing what your in-store digital buying journey is going to look like, you need to know what your customers want. That is, you should know what they love about shopping online so that you know what you’re trying to replicate before diving into it.
The best way to figure that out is to ask your customers about their online shopping preferences directly. You may also want to perform market research to get a broader view of the preferences of the market segment that you’re targeting.
Integrate your web store with your retail locations
If you haven’t done so already, your next move is integrating your web store with your retail offerings. The goal here is to make the transition from online to brick-and-mortar as seamless as possible.
That could involve significant retooling of your online web store or minor tweaks depending on where you’re at currently.
Choose the right hardware
Now you’re ready to choose the screens that you’re going to use to deliver this experience to your customers. You will likely need touch screens so that your guests can control their buying experience in your stores in the same ways that they do while shopping online.
The specific touch screens that are right for you could vary based on the industry that you’re in. For instance, a bar that wants to offer sports betting to its patrons may have different requirements than a clothing store.
If you’re not sure which type of screen is right for you, don’t be afraid to ask your customers! They’re going to be your best resource for this process.
Select your digital signage software
Digital signage software is what powers real-world digital customer journeys. It gives you complete control over what you broadcast on your in-store screens and makes it super simple to make changes when you need to.
UPshow could be the perfect digital signage software for your store. It comes with a ton of built-in templates and the ability to make your own custom displays.
You can also update your UPshow displays through any internet-enabled device. So you don’t need to buy a ton of specialized equipment to get started.
Put it all together and track your progress
Once you’ve set up your digital signage software, you can start giving your customers the real-world digital buying experience that you want. But don’t make the mistake of setting all of this up and then forgetting it.
The first iteration of a big change like this is rarely final. Instead, you will likely want to seek out feedback from your customers and track the performance of your digital buying kiosks over time.
This is important because it enables you to continuously refine your digital signage displays until they’re accomplishing the goals that you have for them. UPshow makes this easy to do.
UPshow makes it easier to leverage the power of digital signage
Replicating the digital customer journey in real life can help your store stand apart from the competition. It could be just what you need to start driving the revenue increases that you’re after.
So why wait? You can take the first step towards accomplishing this by signing up for a free custom demo of UPshow today. We’ll show you exactly how we can help your store stand out with a comprehensive real-world digital buying experience.