Times are changing quickly in retail, and brick-and-mortar stores are feeling the strain. Increased competition from online retailers, new technological innovations, and skyrocketing overhead costs are only some of the issues traditional stores must deal with today – it’s no wonder many independent shops and longstanding retailers feel overwhelmed as they battle to remain profitable in an unpredictable marketplace. Read on to gain an in-depth overview of some of the main challenges currently affecting brick-and-mortar stores – and how you can devise strategies to overcome them!
Competing with Online Stores
Today’s digital world is seeing more people turning to online shopping due to its convenience and lower prices. At the same time, this bodes well for retailers of this sort, as traditional brick-and-mortar shops may find this difficult. Online shopping makes comparison shopping simpler than ever, giving consumers access to products at any time and place, giving a clear advantage to those shopping in physical stores. There are ways retailers can even the playing field by providing unique customer experiences at their locations. Customer service, exceptional in-store experience, and exclusive offers are key elements in drawing customers back into physical stores. Though traditional retailers face greater competition and a shifting retail landscape than ever before, with some creative thinking, traditional retailers can still compete and thrive in today’s retail environment.
High Rental Costs
Rental costs for physical retail spaces can be an immense financial strain for business owners, so many entrepreneurs are turning to online retail platforms as an alternative solution. Running an e-commerce store can save on rent costs, reach more people, and sell products 24/7; for those relying on physical spaces to create an in-person customer experience, it may be difficult to make this switch. Before making their choice, it is vitally important that business owners carefully weigh all costs and benefits associated with both alternatives.
Young People Engaging in Antisocial Behavior
Unfortunately, “anti-social teens“ can present retailers with an ongoing challenge. By loitering outside stores and intimidating customers and staff alike, young people who engage in disruptive behavior can dissuade potential shoppers from entering retail spaces – having an adverse effect on sales figures. While it may not always be possible to completely avoid disruptions to their store, there are steps retailers can take to make sure it remains safe and welcoming for their customers. Installing security cameras or hiring additional staff is one way of deterring antisocial behavior while providing shoppers with a safer shopping environment.
Furthermore, implementing a strict no-trespassing policy and prohibiting loitering are effective measures retailers can take to safeguard their stores. By taking such steps to provide shoppers with a pleasant shopping experience and avoid antisocial behaviors like shoplifting and loitering from occurring within their establishment, retailers can help prevent future incidents.
Lack of Personalization Options
Customers visiting brick-and-mortar stores typically expect some level of personalization; they want the store to fulfill their unique needs and desires. Unfortunately, this can often prove challenging as, unlike online retailers, bricks-and-mortars may not have as wide of an assortment of customization options (from clothing alterations to personalized message engraving), making it hard for retailers to meet every demand for customization. While this lack of personalization may frustrate customers, keep in mind that many bricks-and-mortars strive for exceptional customer service in other ways!
Lower Profit Margins
Operating a physical store can be rewarding and profitable; however, profits tend to be much lower due to higher operational costs such as rent, utilities, and maintenance. Overcoming these hurdles will reward you with loyal customers and the pride that comes from owning physical space; additionally, there may be ways of cutting costs through innovative strategies utilizing technology and automation. Yet regardless of lower margins, success in retail is possible by understanding its challenges and finding creative solutions for them.