Are you a retailer looking to grow your business? Many retailers treat their online and in-store presence separately and there can be a distinct segregation between a retailers online activity and their “bricks and mortar” store. Online can be treated suspiciously and as a rival to instore business. In reality, the two shouldn’t compete for custom.
Today’s retailers have the opportunity to embrace a multi-channel approach giving their customers the ability to use different channels to make their buying choices. Here we look at four reasons why integrating your instore and online presence is key to that approach.
1. Support Your Brand
When your customers visit your website, your store or your social media pages they expect to have the same brand experience. Each should have the same feel and branding or shopping experience to avoid confusion and promote your brand across all the different channels. Retail is competitive and a cohesive approach to in-store and online will support your brand recognition whether a customer is surfing the web or walking down their local high street.
2. Showcase Your In-store Expertise
One of the foundations of building customer loyalty is providing a great customer service. Arguably it is your instore staff who are a fundamental part of building a rapport with your customers, using their expertise and knowledge to inform them and help them with their decisions. This doesn’t need to be just instore. Think about what questions your customers ask when they are in-store and provide answers to these questions online. Live chat or an online Q & A through social media will allow your instore experts to shine, encouraging your customers to purchase, visit your store or recommend you as the local experts.
3. Maximise Local Marketing Through Search Engines
Small local retailers can really benefit from an integrated approach to maximise their local marketing. In a 2014 study on the digital impact on in-store shopping, Google found that 3 out of 4 customers who found local information in search results helpful were more likely to visit stores. At the very least, make sure that your store information is up to date on Google My Business. It puts you on the Google map and you can provide your customers with the most searched information of opening hours, contact details, a map and the all important reviews.It’s free and even if you don’t have a website you can then use Google AdWords Express to advertise to a local and targeted area.
4. Utilise Social Media
In the same Google study, 85% were more likely to shop in places that offer personalised coupons or exclusive offers in store. A strong presence and advertising on the major social media platforms allows you to promote offers and local events to your loyal customers. When your customers are in-store make sure that you advertise your social media pages and ask customers to like or follow you. Encourage customers to share promotions or photos at your instore events on social media using a specific hashtag or by tagging your store when they visit and by completing recommendations.
Modern retail presents many different challenges and avenues of opportunity and growth. Ensuring that your online and in-store presence is integrated into a social media marketing plan is a crucial step to success.