Originally a mobile e-commerce platform co-founded by Carl Waldekranz in 2012, Tictail has opened the doors to its first-ever permanent storefront in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Tictail is an online platform that helps entrepreneurs build online shops within minutes. It is also a shopping destination for finding the best emerging fashion and home décor designers from around the world. It is reported that Carl has raised over $32.5 million for his mobile DIY e-commerce platform. The intriguing part is why a profitable platform like this would decide to open up a storefront.
Customers Feel More Confident While Shopping at Physical Stores
No one can deny that e-commerce has become an increasingly important part of the retailing industry, offering consumers and businesses the flexibility to shop and buy over the internet anytime. Amazon is a perfect example of a company that has benefitted from the e-commerce explosion, from being an online bookstore to becoming one of the largest e-commerce brands in the world. We can safely say that e-commerce has changed the appearance and structure of traditional business. With e-commerce, there is no driving in circles while looking and digging in hopes of finding what you need. Every product is at the tip of your fingers on the internet. Even though the popularity of web-based retailers boomed in recent years, there are many customers who still prefer buying from physical stores. According to six in ten Americans, nothing compares to the experience of physically touching products. Stores provide consumers with a sensory experience that allows them to touch and feel the products and immerse in brand experiences.
The future is moving towards online, with consumers shifting to digital but the joy of shopping is still synonymous with an in-person experience. In a survey, more than 90% Americans revealed that they are more likely to make a purchase when they receive assistance from a knowledgeable salesperson. Human contact creates a bond between seller and buyer, initiating trust and guarantee. This is the staple of marketing. According to research, strong customer relationships can yield both higher profits and increased market share.
Tictail Market Offers an In-Person Touchpoint to a Digital Brand
The permanent retail location introduces shoppers to emerging designers from around the world. Carl explains that they sought to bring together a community of amazing local brands and give them the tools to build global businesses. The store that brings designers’ stories to life will help customers create personal relationships with the brands they are buying. In an era when anyone has the ability to create professional websites at no cost, having a physical presence is a clear metric of brand legitimacy. In addition, Google offers prime real estate on the search result page to the physical presence of a business.
Brick-and-Mortar Enhances Local Brand Awareness
When Tictail opened their second office in New York, their local brand perception was zero. Despite having a VC firm in New York and thousands of brands coming to them every day, the platform was still unknown to shoppers. They needed local brand awareness, and opening a physical store in one of the coolest corners of New York City was the perfect way to achieve that. Tictail aims to increase awareness and draw customers in a realm where the retail options aren’t infinite or influenced by an all-powerful gatekeeper. Using physical locations is about making a brand’s presence known in a clear and tangible way, and boosting consumer interest. Brick-and-mortar can draw in foot traffic while increasing brand awareness. You need to be where your customers are, and the latter will come through social channels and e-commerce platforms.
A Successful Brick-and-Mortar Is Based on Three Pillars
Carl Waldekranz explains that their primary goal is not monetary. Their main aim is to understand, promote and bring together their community. Through e-commerce, brands beg for potential customer attention, but with a physical location, the rules change. Shoppers’ focus will be on your brand only. The co-founder of Tictail believes that it is the best moment to learn, teach and engage. In order to keep customers coming back and attract new ones, it is time to start thinking beyond the typical sale, and start offering your customers memorable experiences.
Understand Your Customer’s Journey
Understanding consumer buying journey is the key to effective marketing. It is the journey that your customer goes in regard to purchasing your product or service. In a physical store, you are able to witness the entire shopping journey. Carl says that he loves digging into user behavior to understand why different groups of customers gravitate towards different sets of products. As a seller, you can watch as a customer browses through product by product and ponder on the size, price or even branding. Today consumers are moving outside the marketing funnel by changing the way they research and buy products. By observing customers, marketers will be able to adjust their strategies to cope with the changing consumer practices. One of the reasons behind Tictail success is they have listened to their shoppers’ questions carefully.
Teach Your Customer about Your Brand
There is a big difference between marketing to your customers and educating them. Elaborating upon the features, advantages and benefits isn’t enough to retain the attention of customers. It is essential to take your potential shoppers on a journey through your brand’s world. Tictail Market has been able to capture the attention of visitors with their bio-card wall. It is a dedicated area at the back of the store with takeaway cards that tell the stories of every Tictail brand. It is the perfect way to connect your shoppers with your brands. Every interaction customers have with your brand impacts their perception of your product. By teaching your customers about your brand makes the shopping experience feel more personal.
When customers can connect personally with your brand, they become your brand ambassadors. Carl explains the importance of thinking your store as a gallery that showcases your brand, point of view and community. You should aim to reach another 50 shoppers through every individual who visits your store. This is the power of referrals! As unofficial brand advocates, your customers can do more to promote trust and confidence in your company than even the best ad campaigns.
Enhance Brand Loyalty through Engagement
Whether it is through events, social media activity, CRM content or brand partnerships, a storefront is the perfect way to engage with your community. Shoppers want engaging and personalized in-store experiences, ones that go beyond the traditional retail space. Highly engaged customers tend to spend more on each purchase, which in turn increases customer lifetime values and decreases customer acquisition costs. Your store is an indispensable resource for connecting with your brand community. Create a sense of community by sponsoring events where customers can interact with each other and your brand.
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