The retail world is more technologically driven than ever before. With the rise of online shopping and the convenience it brings, more customers are opting to shop from the comfort of their own homes rather than going to physical stores.
As such, footfall levels have declined in recent years, with stores now using a number of methods to try and drive their audiences from online to offline.
Here, we show you the most effective ways to drive your online traffic to stores.
The first step is to ensure your audience knows where to go for an offline experience. Store locators are essential for this, especially for stores that have multiple locations. Customers often search for this on the go, aiming to look for the closest store to where they are at a given time. A good store locator needs to include key information, such as an address, opening times, and a phone number.
Each individual store locator page should also include imagery of the store, as well as an interactive map showcasing the different locations. A good store locator can work wonders for a website with an optimal design for both desktop and mobile, ensuring that customers who are looking online are aware of where to go.
Brands are still treating their online and offline channels as separate entities, but a truly integrated approach is beneficial to both channels for the majority of brands. Social media, in particular, plays a large part in helping brands speak to their customers on an informal level, and letting them know about activities to drive them to stores.
The tone of voice for social media should be aligned with other online and offline channels so customers see everything as one channel. Social media can then be used to share updates to help drive in-store footfall. For example, Twitter can be used to post about upcoming in-store events or exclusive offers that can only be redeemed if customers visit a store. Facebook can be used in paid social campaigns to target new audiences based on geographical location and let them know about in-store promotions so that they are more encouraged to visit.
Social channels can also be used as a means to incentivise loyal fans. Long-term followers can sign up to get exclusive in-store promotions, or sharing their most recent purchases can get them an exclusive in-store only offer.
In Store Technology
To keep up with ever-changing technological advances, more brands are now updating their stores to make them more appealing to customers. This allows customers to have a much more engaging experience that they would not have if they were to only shop online.
One good example is the Burberry London flagship store, which is designed to imitate the online Burberry site. The store brings digital technology alive with a multimedia experience. Key features include digital changing room mirrors that showcase catwalk looks, audio-visual content on chips on selected products transferring images and information to changing room screens, and ‘digital showers’ that take over all screens with visual and audio content. With 100 screens and speakers around the store, customers are kept constantly engaged, with a reason to come in and stay.
Turning the store into an experience such as this, or what Apple or Disney stores have done, maintains the need for people to come into stores – it allows them to enjoy going and spending time there, rather than just shopping online.
In-store events are a tactful way to get customers into stores. By sharing details of an event on the website and across social channels, it encourages them to go from online to offline. The event can be a one-off sale, the launch of an exclusive new line, a workshop, or just for your customers to get to know your brand. Whatever the reason, this will allow customers to be aware of the store itself and encourage them to purchase during the event, or come back again. This brings together the notion of a community, and allows customers to be a part of something.
Bearing these tips in mind and implementing them across channels should help to increaseBusiness & Finance Articles on Business 2 Community