The advent of online shopping has noticeably affected retail businesses in general, but is it a cause for worry?
It’s undoubtedly easier to shop in the comfort of your own home. You don’t have to experience the hassle of having to travel to and from the store. However, brick and mortar stores have advantages that can’t be found in online stores too. In fact, according to a survey by Forbes Insights, retailers say almost half of the consumers (46%) do their product research online but still prefer to buy in person at physical stores. Only more than a third say they do their research and buy online.
Nowadays, people could buy a product with just a few clicks. But why do some still prefer going to a physical store? The Retail Dive Consumer Survey says the top reason why consumers prefer to shop in a physical store vs. online is because they want “to see, touch, feel, and try out items.” This is something they can’t do with the limited product-consumer interaction capabilities of online shopping.
While it has been proven that brick and mortar stores are not yet obsolete and won’t be for a long time, you still have to come up with and implement ideas that would drive foot traffic from people in your area to your store. Here are some.
Make the outside look good
Never underestimate the power of a creative signage. A FedEx survey says 8 in 10 consumers said they had entered a store or business they had never visited before based simply on its signs. An effective signage has the power to lure potential customers to your store. It’s the first thing people see, and it reflects the quality of your store’s services and products. If your signage is dull and illegible, people won’t be interested to find out what’s inside. Aside from a creative signage, you can also attract the attention through putting up creative elements outside your store. This can include chalkboards with a funny or motivational quotation.
Use influencers and brand ambassadors
You don’t have to spend a fortune on hiring a celebrity just to get exposure for your business. Statistics say influencer marketing delivers 11x higher ROI than tradition forms of digital marketing and 49% of people say they rely on recommendations from influencers on making purchase decisions. Working with influencers and brand ambassadors will be more effective than hiring a celebrity or someone with a huge following on social media since these are people consumers would trust getting recommendations from. Don’t get just anyone, though. Make sure it’s someone who is relevant to the industry your business is in and could represent it well. If your brick and mortar business just opened in your area and you’re aiming to advertise it to your community, it might be best to hire a local influencer for a more targeted marketing.
Create a personalized consumer experience
Proximity marketing is becoming increasingly popular with businesses as big brands have proved its capacity to bring in new customers and foster loyalty among existing ones. In a 2016 Statista survey, 42% of companies say they already have proximity marketing in place and 39% are planning to implement in the next three years.
Through the use of WiFi and beacon technology such as Royalty Gem and Turnstyle, you can transmit promotional messages to any WiFi and Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones. Thus, you’ll be able to optimize your marketing campaign. This type of technology will let you advertise to passersby. You can also send promos, discounts, and offers directly to their smartphones to entice them into entering your store. It’s a convenient way to get their attention, especially since most of the time people have their heads buried in their phones.
Not only can this technology help you target new customers, it can also help you foster customer loyalty among your existing customers. Beacons can help you gather valuable customer data, such as how many times they’ve been inside your store and what their shopping habits and preferences are. These data can then help you make customized advertisements and recommendations and reward loyal customers. Giving them a personalized experience will help develop long-term customer loyalty.
Establish an online presence
About 78% of small businesses attract new customers and engage current ones using social media. Whether you’re selling products or offering services, it’s essential for your brick and mortar business to have an online presence. Having social media accounts and/or a website will make it easy for consumers to find you online. Make sure all important information about your business is there, such as your store’s location. Don’t forget to showcase the products and services you are offering.
Aside from providing them an easy way to find you, your website and social media accounts are also convenient platforms to target new customers and actively engage with existing consumers any time of the day. For your online campaign to be effective, you have to regularly post updates on your blog and accounts. You can hold online contests and giveaways where your followers are required to like or follow your account, share your post, or use a specific hashtag to get a chance to win a product or service you’re offering. This can easily get you a huge following, advertise your products or services, and get the word around about your brick and mortar business all at the same time.
Work with local businesses in your industry on a joint campaign by holding a small event in your area. It can be a seminar that would provide valuable ideas to people in your community. Each of you would have the chance to talk and share your ideas. You could also hire experts that people would want to listen to. It can also be a workshop, where each business could set up a booth and come up with a tactic to get people’s attention. Hype up this event by promoting it in social media and by putting up posters in your area.
By doing this, you are building a sense of community with related businesses. You are also minimizing the expenses you would’ve spent if you did the campaign alone, and promoting your business all at the same time.
The internet and new technologies have certainly made a lot of things easier for us. While online shops aren’t going to leave shopping malls and retail stores empty anytime soon, we have to admit that the way we do businesses is rapidly changing. All you have to do is keep adapting to these changes and keep up with the competition. Though traditional, your brick and mortar store will survive the test of time.