There’s good news for aspiring entrepreneurs looking to set up a brick-and-mortar shop. According to a survey by global management consulting firm A.T. Kearney, 81 percent of Gen Z prefers to shop in stores, and 73 percent like to discover new products in stores. Unlike millennials, more than half said shopping in brick-and-mortar stores allows them to disconnect from social media and an overwhelmingly digital world.
The time may be perfect for launching a brick-and-mortar space, but there are still a lot of tech details to manage that are typically absent from an e-commerce marketplace. From beefing up your security to creating the right systems and processes, here’s how to tackle the tech for your brick-and-mortar.
Install Security Cameras
There are plenty of security concerns when it comes to e-commerce, like hacking and accepting credit cards online. But brick-and-mortars need a comprehensive security plan that protects everything from inventory to employees. Start with a robust security camera system that can be used outside or inside to monitor activity, replay footage and keep tabs on the safety of your business. A security system creates an extra set of eyes so you can focus on running your business, all while impacting your bottom line. Your business insurance likely requires a security system, and may even offer a reduced rate in exchange for the added protection.
Implement Digital Payment Processors
Just because your business is offline doesn’t mean your payment processes should be. Accepting cash, credit and debit cards are a must, but you can also attract digital-savvy consumers with options like Apple Pay, Stripe, Square, etc. The addition of digital payments establishes your reputation as proactive and tech friendly while attracting a broader customer base who prefers to shop without their wallets.
Create an Online and Offline Community
Building a community creates an established, loyal customer base for your brick-and-mortar. Start by exploring what your customers want. If your business sells hiking gear and packages, consider creating a private Facebook community that can swap advice and tips on the best trails. Next, leverage that online community and take it offline by offering hiking trips and workshops that adds another stream of revenue to your business. Whatever your business model and offering, you can find ways to blend online and offline for a harmonious community.
Brainstorm Your Marketing Strategy
Your marketing strategy needs a mix of online and offline focus. Look to local SEO first that keeps your business on the top of mind for customers. Your presence should be represented on Google maps, local Google search, Yelp and other local review sites. Depending on your business, Google ads and Facebook ads may be a wise choice to drive more traffic to your storefront. Your offline strategy can focus on promotions, partnering with like-minded businesses to cross-promote each other’s stores and asking customers for referrals. And in an ideal world, your online and offline marketing intersects and gives the other a boost.
Scale Your Tech by Listening to Customers
The volume of technology available to brick and mortars can feel overwhelming. But just because you can use everything from artificial intelligence to beacons doesn’t mean you need to. Survey your customers to find out what would enhance their shopping experience. Do they want to look in a smart mirror and see themselves wearing a garment before trying it on? Do they want to automatically receive discounts and promotions based on their previous purchase history? Find out what your customers want and will use before investing in those next pieces of tech.
When it comes to building a brick-and-mortar business, focus on the areas that matter most. Start by protecting your store with the best security system and strategically add the technology you need as you grow.