How to Use Online Channels to Get Customers in the Door

There's plenty of hype surrounding the rise of Ecommerce with an expected $340 billion to be spent online in the USA this year! But does this mean that we're about to see the death of the traditional brick and mortar store?

Absolutely not.

Sure, shopping online has it's benefits: it's convenient and often provides more variety. But selling in person has huge advantages too. There's something about physically touching and seeing the product before buying that draws people into a physical store.

The key is to get both online and offline to work together to get more people visiting every store you own. So how do you use your online channels to push people in-store?

Take a look at this post to find out...

1. Showcase positive experiences

Your social channels are the perfect place to show your customers exactly what they can expect if they visit your physical store. When people click to follow you, they don't always want to be fed promotions in every post.

We already know that consumers trust peer recommendations ahead of ads, so by showing people enjoying a positive experience with your brand, this can help to push people in your store.

Take a look at Target to find some great examples of how they showcase positive in-store experiences. They posted this image below on their Twitter feed to show two kids dressed up as Star Wars characters...

 Why does it work?

  • It takes advantage of a popular franchise – Star Wars.
  • It shows two people having fun in a Target store.
  • It features products that they sell in-store.
  • It's a customer photo, rather than one that has been created by Target themselves.

The more you encourage customers to share their in-store experience with the online world, the better chance you will have of getting people to visit your physical stores.

2. Incentivize with discounts

If you want to get more people to visit your physical store then running a promotion can definitely help. And considering 91% of consumers check their email every day, an email marketing campaign is the perfect place to start.

This email from Bed Bath & Beyond, offers a great example of a brand encouraging their customers to visit their store using a discount. The email comes with the promise of 20% off and asks the customer to either print out the email, or bring it with them to the checkout during the time of the promotion.... 

3. Show off your latest products

Using your online channels to tell everyone about the latest products is a great way to push people in-store. You could include it as a regular feature on your social channel and assign a hashtag to it, so that customers come to expect it and look forward to it each week.

This example below comes from Garden Center Gertens. They've uploaded a full set of photo's with the latest bulbs that customers can buy to get ready for fall... 

 Why does it work?

  • It shows the various in-store images of the product and what they will look like once grown.
  • They've added a touch of humour to the post – to show off the face behind the brand.
  • They use images – Facebook posts get a 37% higher level engagement when photos are included.

4. Shout about events

By celebrating an event in-store, you can create a buzz about it online and then push people to come and celebrate with you in-store. Whether it's Christmas, Thanksgiving, Labor day, or International Dog Day (yep that's a thing), customers will love to see you celebrating events.

Toys R Us certainly know a thing or two about how to get their audience excited for new toys! As you can see from this post below on their Facebook page, they're letting their audience know that they will be celebrating the launch of a new game by holding an event to play it in-store.

 Why does it work?

  • It celebrates the launch of a brand new game in a unique way.
  • The business understands what their customers want – by encouraging them to visit the store and play a game.
  • It clearly states the date and time of the launch.
  • It features the branding of the game to get fans super excited.

5. Show them where your stores are

How do you expect customers to visit your stores if they don't know where to find them? The internet has made everything accessible, so rather than a customer aimlessly wandering around a city to find your store, their first port of call will be to visit your website.

So for example on the Starbucks website you can click 'Find a Store' and be taken to a map of your country and then locate the nearest store to your location...

 Why does it work?

  • It's a visual map helping customers locate any store that they need.
  • It's easy to use and you can filter the map depending on their individual requirements.
  • It's something that your customers will look for on your site if they want to visit you in-store.

6. Create a mobile app

Did you know that 70% of iPhone users will use apps or web browsers to assist them with their purchase before stepping into the store? And, 38% of all smartphone users check availability of a product through an app? Smartphone's have taken over our lives, so it makes sense to keep this in mind when promoting to your audience.

Ensuring your online channels are responsive across all devices is a given, but have you ever thought about creating an app for your business? Not only will an app act as the perfect reminder that you exist, but you can use it to let customers know what products you have in store at that given moment, so they can come and visit you!

Why does it work?

  • It provides accessibility for your customers
  • It's a handy way for shoppers to keep up to date with your merchandise
  • You can use the app to send push notifications to bring people in-store

Creating your app may sound complex, but this Forbes article tells you how to do it in 12 easy steps!

7. Try click and collect

Click and collect is another great way to unify your online channels with your brick and mortar store. The idea is that the customer can choose the products from your website and then pick them up in-store - and the stats show that shoppers love the convenience of it - with 79% of consumers using this method to complete their purchases.

It's a popular method amongst grocery stores including Walmart, but there's no reason why any kind of business can't adopt it. A popular UK retailer Argos, is known for it's convenient click and collect solution. Their customers can shop for any product they like on their website, and then choose to collect them in-store that very same day...

 Why does it work?

  • It's highly convenient.
  • Consumers really like it.
  • It offers more solutions to help bring people in-store.
  • It's a guaranteed purchase.

Takeaway

The takeaway here is that you truly need to embrace the omni-channel way of thinking. Whether a person is viewing your website, looking at your social channel, or visiting your retail store, customers expect the same experience whenever they come into contact with your brand.

By adopting these top tactics above and making sure you create a unified customer experience, you'll see far more people walk through your doors.

Are you thinking about setting up a physical store? Take a look at our mobile card reader solution to see how easy it is for anyone to do! 

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