Using The Cloud To Connect Bricks With Clicks


From the auto industry to the retail industry, firms have used hybrid business models to make transitions into new technology for generations, the Harvard Business Review reports.

Although there are challenges of managing the steps to connect these models, they are still largely successful. Businesses and retailers can look to a hybrid model to connect clicks to bricks to help grow and scale their businesses.

But more importantly, transitioning to a hybrid model can potentially create a more sustainable business.

Here’s how.

Switch to a cloud contact center

Keeping customers happy is the lifeblood of any company. But in today’s marketplace, more customers demand fast responses from an omnichannel presence. On average, 57 percent of customers finish their decision-making process before they come into direct contact with a company for the first time, says Adobe. More and more customers want to find their own solutions online, look at online reviews and peruse a company’s FAQ page to take more control of their shopping experience.

Once a customer is ready to make contact with a business or shop, a cloud-based contact center can streamline the process and turn it into a consistent and cohesive experience. Whether you offer online or phone support, customers can access a cloud contact center to get the information they’re looking for.

Launch a virtual store

Even successful brick and mortar retailers like the Gap and Ann Taylor are launching online stores to expand their reach, as well as making shopping easier for their own customers. The move can help create more sustainability in hybrid businesses looking for a way to expand without the added overhead.

A platform like Shopify can simplify the online store building process so even business owners with no technical experience can get up and running quickly. Facebook also has their own shopping platform, and Pinterest offers retailers buyable pins so customers can shop as they go. The best part is that online shops never have to close and can take orders all night long.

Hire a virtual team

An in-house team is no longer necessary for business success. Companies can recruit and onboard top talent no matter where they live and work remotely. Tools like Asana and Slack can help keep teams connected and manage their projects from one platform. Slack can also launch video calls directly from the platform to put in face time with your team no matter where they are working. With this hybrid model, businesses can allocate their overhead towards inventory and marketing instead of office space.

Target your online ads

Whether you run a virtual business or have a brick-and-mortar shop, you can target online ads to reach your ideal customers. Facebook ads are also evolving to target people based on their store visits and offline store purchases.

Retargeting is also a popular way to reach customers interested in your business. Adding a Facebook pixel to your website can track anyone who stopped by to get directions to your business, get more information or just look around. When you’re ready to run a Facebook ad campaign, the pixel remembers who came by creating a more effective and sustainable way to reach customers.

Personalize online and offline shopping

You can create a hybrid shopping event for customers by using Bluetooth, beacons and NFC to personalize their experience. When customers who sign-up to get more information about your products and services, you can target them with sales and specials when they’re simply passing by your store. A shop can also use beacon technology to help craft a personalized shopping experience by letting you know where the favorite T-shirts you browsed online are or quickly order an out-of-stock item.

There are plenty of ways to use the cloud to take your brick and mortar business into a digitally focused model. But there’s no need to jump into every online solution without considering its benefit to your business. Focus on the areas that simply your business the most and cater to your customer’s unique needs. At the end of the day, whatever serves your customers is likely to help improve your company’s bottom line.

About the Author Staff Writer

Our writers come from all over the world, but one thing unites them - their passion for sustainability.

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