Discount sites like catch of the day, Groupon and livingsocial are challenging bricks and mortar retailers, often offering brand name products for a fraction of the price the same products can be purchased in a retail business.

Retailers need to step back, take stock – and realise that price is not a long-term differentiator.

If you look carefully at the discount sites you soon realize that the success stories are not always as good as they are made out to be.  Indeed, there have been some horror stories for shoppers and products suppliers when engaging with the discount deals sites.

Shoppers learn about products by touching and feeling them. This is where trust is built. Only retail stores can provide this experience. Retailers  reinforce the physical shopping experience by:

  • Encouraging active browsing.
  • Placing products in-store adjacent to other products which retailers know sell together – based on data in their Point of Sale software.
  • Hosting in-store events and marketing these to the customer database.
  • Rewarding shoppers for frequency of visit and purchase.
  • Using technology in good Point of Sale software to ensure that sales associates share valuable additional information that separates the store experience from the online experience.
  • Using gift vouchers to allow shopping in-store to be sold as a gift where you are not sure what to give.
  • Using smart packaging of items into ‘hampers’ or ‘gift packages’ to create a ‘product’ which is unique to your business.  Good point of Sale software will make this easy to do, track and manage.

While competing with the online discount sites on price is a challenge, there are ways to do this that uphold the points of difference of the in-store retail experience.

The ideas in this article are just a start.  Central to such a project is using Point of Sale software beyond it being a glorified cash register and making the most of the opportunity to drive shopper loyalty.

Shopper loyalty is tremendously valuable. It is nurtured through the retail experience through knowledge, service and pricing. These three elements combine to deliver excellent business value and a platform off of which a bricks and mortar retail business can compete with the discount coupon sites.