ecommerce for brick and mortar stores

Everyone knows that mobile has changed eCommerce.  From conversion rates to responsive design, online retailers have been faced with new challenges and forced to adapt to a mobile first world.  However, a report out this month from Google gives us new data into how mobile has changed the brick and mortar stores.  

Google politely calls this trend "reshaping the purchase journey".  Today's consumers are constantly turning to their mobile phones to research products, review social proof, and make purchases.  Google argues that this trend has led to critical moments in the customers' purchase journey, and these moments are important opportunities for brick and mortar retailers and brands to connect with customers.  Google states that "93% of people who use a mobile device for research go on to make a purchase" and "82% of smartphone users turn to their devices to help them make a product decision".  They also say that "after reading something on a smartphone, nearly one in four shoppers has changed his or her mind about buying something while in the checkout line".  

Big retailers and brands are sinking big bucks into mobile apps and youtube videos.  However, small and medium brick and mortar retailers can avoid being left behind by improving their mobile experience.  First, make sure you have an accurate and complete Google My Business listing and encourage your customers to leave positive reviews.  To learn more about Google My Business click here: Google My Business  Next, do a google search of your store name to look for any negative reviews.  Respond to any negative reviews, and once resolved, ask the reviewer to update their review.  Next, update social media accounts, particularly ones that show in Google search results.  Next, start an eCommerce store.  An eCommerce store can be relatively low cost, and it allows mobile consumers to view products and "experience" your store from the comfort of their mobile phone.  Some brick and mortar retailers have products available for purchase directly on the site, while others simply show products as available in store.  Lastly, market your products on Google Shopping and optimize listings to your store location.  Google Shopping is critical for mobile customers, because it is usually the first listing on the Google Search results page and it consumes a significant amount of screen space on a mobile device.  

Here is an example of why an eCommerce store and Google Shopping is an important strategy.  A local lacrosse retailer has an eCommerce website with products available for purchase, and they a good job with the other recommendations I mentioned.  However, I did a google search on my mobile phone for one of their featured products, and their website is not listed on the first page.  To the right you can see a screen shot of the top half of the search results page.  Google Shopping is first, and then there are a few organic listings from the manufacturer.  After the manufacturer's listings (off the screen shot) there are a series of images and youtube videos.  Then there are a few competitor listings, and the finally the local retailer shows on the second page.  This retailer could increase online and in-store sales by showing an ad within the Google Shopping listings to the right.  

With Google's latest report, they give us more evidence that mobile is reshaping online and offline retail.  Small and Medium retailers can improve their mobile experience and adapt to the increasing mobile first world, which can lead to increased online and in-store sales.  

Click here to check out Google's report titled I-Want-to-Buy Moments: How Mobile Has Reshaped the Purchase Journey

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