As you may know, the rate of retail store closures skyrocketed in 2017. The trend has stayed the course this year, with an estimated 3,800 closures expected by the end of 2018, according to a Business Insider report.
These closures are a stark reminder that consumer expectations have changed significantly in recent years. However, the good news is that today’s customers are not completely giving up on brick and mortar stores; rather, they are just using them differently to better meet their changing needs.
Moving forward, brands must be more open to innovative ways to adapt traditional marketing strategies to remain competitive. It starts with realigning their perspective and also realizing that the physical store no longer exclusively exists as a touchpoint for customers to buy products. Instead, retailers must meet consumers where they are, offering a diverse selection of products on their online store and in their brick and mortar stores. They also must ensure their offerings speak precisely to the right audience.
Using an Omnichannel Approach to Draw Customers to Your Physical Store
A recent Invesp report revealed that 95% of marketers believe that an omnichannel approach is fundamental for generating sales and reaching new customers.
From social media to mobile, today’s marketing environment offers countless ways for small retailers to connect with consumers, draw them to their brick and mortar store, and boost sales. The key is to make their offering in the form of a seamless, consistent experience across all available channels.
Here are 6 tips from industry experts to help increase foot traffic to your store’s physical location:
Tip #1 – Enhance your website.
Set up or upgrade your brand’s website to showcase your products, and easily allow shoppers to browse and make purchases. This approach not only lends you more opportunity to generate sales, but it can also drive interest and brand awareness, and increase foot traffic.
Tip #2 – Go mobile.
Meet your customers where they are: on their smartphones and tablets. If your website isn’t optimized for mobile, they simply won’t use it. You can boost in-store foot traffic by increasing the convenience factor via your mobile website. For example, let’s say a busy mom is waiting in a dentist’s office so she quickly hops on your mobile website to get a question answered, such as your store hours. With this easy accessibility and information at her fingertips, she is much more likely to make a quick stop at your store on the way home.
Tip #3 – Personalize your promotions.
Offering in-store promotions, especially via personalized email messages boasting exclusive coupons or specials, can create brand loyalty and invite both current and new customers to experience your physical store. Use the past purchase information stored in your company’s CRM combined with your email marketing tool to better personalize your promotions.
Tip #4 – Offer local inventory availability.
If a customer cannot see on your website that what they want is on your physical store’s shelf, they probably won’t waste a trip. According to the latest research, approximately 65 % of customers say they prefer to view local product availability before heading to the store, amplifying the need for brands to optimize digital experiences. Local inventory availability is a positive sign to customers that your shop has the product they need, in real-time.
Tip #5 – Make ‘Buy Online Pick Up In Store’ (BOPIS) an easy option.
BOPIS, a strategy that gives shoppers greater control and convenience when buying products, is a great example of combining traditional retail in stores with eCommerce. Keep in mind: to encourage customers to repeat BOPIS, the experience you deliver must be user-friendly and seamless.
According to a Wall Street Journal article,
an estimated one-third of “shoppers would prefer to have an item delivered to a location other than their home… and many of those are choosing to pick up their orders in stores.”
Tip #6 – Explore social media.
Keep your business’ social accounts active with regular updates and interesting nuggets about your products, or your overall industry. Include information about charity or community events you may be involved in, specials happening in your physical store, or a unique partnership with another area business. And thanks to free tools like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, it’s never been easier to share real-time updates with loyal fans and customers.
The Bottom Line
There’s no denying that today’s shoppers will continue using more than one channel before reaching a purchase decision.
Smart retailers should recognize this shift and aim to make the customer journey convenient and smooth across multiple channels.
At the end of the day, adopting an omnichannel approach will not help you stand out from the competition, but also help you engage new customers, boost revenues, and enhance your overall business.
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