Business September 9, 2021 Last updated September 9th, 2021 752 Reads share

7 ways to improve client engagement for offline businesses

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If your business predominantly operates offline, then you will need to be clever about how you engage with and appeal to clients and customers in order to make a splash without blowing your budget too quickly.

With that in mind, here are a few effective options to connect with people more successfully, depending on the industry you occupy.

Hospitality firms can make great use of happy hours

The popularity of happy hours as a customer engagement and marketing exercise in the hospitality sector has increased in recent years, and for good reason. By offering time-specific discounts you will be encouraging customers to visit during particular windows, and also gaining the advantage over rivals, while establishing your brand more broadly in the local area to boost recognition and ultimately profit.

Furthermore, with the right happy hour ideas, this promotion can be about much more than boosting sales, but can evolve to create a community around your organization, and make it a hub which customers will keep coming back to time and again.

Provide on-site perks

When thinking about engaging with clients and customers, it should not just be a process of deciding how to lure them in, but how to keep them there for longer.

This is where you need to tap into what people expect from the businesses they patronize, so that you can aim to meet or even exceed expectations.

One of the primary perks that companies of all shapes and sizes should really provide these days is fast, secure Wi-Fi so that customers can use their devices while on-site without eating into their data allowance. Customers will flock to your store if you offer free Wi-Fi, and that’s a good thing! The longer they stay in your shop, the more likely they are to buy from you.

You can also provide perks like free snacks and beverages, which will be especially appreciated in contexts where they may not normally be expected.

Incentivize feedback to inform future engagement strategies

While it makes sense to take steps to boost client engagement in any business, you should also aim to determine whether or not the changes you have made and the strategies you have implemented are having the desired effect.

The best way to do this is to ask customers outright how they feel about the offers and perks that you have provided to them. Getting feedback of this kind is not guaranteed, but it will be much easier to request if you are also incentivizing a response. This could be as simple as giving a discount off their next purchase, or entering them into a prize draw in return for their input. Most customers will willingly offer feedback if you offer a little gift for purchase.

Showcase online achievements offline

Digital displays and signage are a great way to ensure that the efforts you are pouring into engaging with customers via social media and other web-based platforms can also have an impact on offline engagement.

Whether you showcase your official Instagram feed, along with images shared by happy customers using your preferred hashtags, or you feature reviews of your business from reputable, independent services, there are lots of options when it comes to celebrating your successes. Just don’t go overboard. Keep your content fresh by switching it up.

Hold In-Person Contests

Who doesn’t enjoy free stuff and the joy of competition? Most of your customers will be interested in an online contest, but an in-person contest will take a bit of ingenuity. 

Weeks in advance, send an email to your followers and create a post on social media that markets the contest. If you prefer to market in-store, place plackets inside with information on the contest. Alternatively, you could send out flyers or tell customers as they walk into the store. Be sure to add a section on every customer’s bill that explains the full details of the contest.

Here are a few sales contest ideas you and your team could try:

  • Play Wheel of Fortune: When a customer walks into the store, spin the wheel. Wheel prizes could include clothing, candy, gift cards, discounts, and other products.
  • Product Selling Contest: Anytime a customer buys products in-store, a copy of their bill is entered into a raffle. The more they buy, the more likely they are to win.
  • Secret Number: When a customer buys a product, the employee will see if their total bill amount matches the secret number (for example, $10.42). If it does, the customer wins.

Make the contest prizes multi-purpose, life gift-cards or discounts, to bring in more people.

Offer Self-Service

Customers prefer to be independent while making a purchase decision. Whether you consider yourself an introvert or you’re just having a bad day, sometimes we want to avoid the small talk, pay for our stuff, and get out. However, there are times when we need help finding an item in the store, but it always seems like customer service agents disappear when we need them.

Kiosks, terminals, and touch screens solve both problems simultaneously while allowing customers to customize their own in-store experience instantly. Self-service is another in-store service that avoids long queues and allows busy customers the chance of leaving quicker.

IKEA took this concept to the next level by putting QR codes on all of its items. With this option, customers can pay for their furniture without having to lug furniture up to the counter.

Educate your customers

Online retailers are able to educate their customers easier because their platform checks whether it’s out of stock, various color options, and clothing measurements. Offline businesses aren’t as customer-friendly for the same reason. Most customers would rather leave the store than ask if their size is in the backroom or if a similar item is placed somewhere else.

Timberland’s Manhattan store location fixed this problem by placing NFC-enabled tablets all over the store that can scan, and lookup extended product information. The customer can simply tap the sticker on the product, and they’re immediately directed to their website.

While some businesses may not have the overhead to supply tablets for their customers, they can use QR codes that link to their product page instead. 

Michael Dunlop

Michael Dunlop

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