Online vs. Bricks and Mortar – Visual Merchandising Plan to Battle Competition

Merchandising PlanIt is common knowledge in the retail industry that online shopping is a major competitor for bricks and mortar stores. The ability to price compare and buy online has steadily risen in popularity over the last few years, to the point that many retailers have felt the need to compete through the development and establishment of their own online stores. However, it seems as though the competition is not as stiff as originally predicted – and the expectation that online shopping would lead to the inevitable death of the retail location have not panned out. Canadian customers are still shopping at bricks and mortar locations.

According to research done by global information company The NPD Group, only 4% of all Canadian transactions were made online in 2012 – and this is an increase of 0.5% from 2011. Broken down, NPD reported that approximately 7 online purchases were made by the average Canadian household in 2012, compared to over 150 trips to traditional bricks and mortar stores (3-4 visits per week).

There are many reasons for this staunch refusal by consumers to let online shopping dictate the market – the most important reason being the experience that cannot be had by shopping online. Recognizing this, retailers have started to realize the importance that lies in visual merchandising and how it has to change in order to continue to compete.

As a bricks and mortar store, having a visual merchandising plan in place is crucial to maintain the leverage over online retailers. Consumers like to be able to enter a retail location and visually take in what they cannot over the internet. This includes things like planograms, signage and displays – all of which need to be executed properly (one of the main functions of a merchandising company) to attract customers.

Other factors contribute as well, including a high level of customer experience and interaction – so make sure that when customers leave your store they feel satisfied. This will help safeguard customer loyalty and retention.

Although online shopping has not killed the bricks and mortar store it has resulted in the need to evolve and adapt. A strong visual merchandising plan is essential in this adaptation, and so make sure that you employ a merchandising company to help ensure that the online competition that does exist does not take over.

For more information about how to ramp up your visual merchandising plan to further battle the competition of online retailers, please contact Marketsupport today by calling 1-877-421-5081.

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