Aligning Your Online Marketing into Real-World Premises
Don’t abandon your brick and mortar with online marketing, make sure that your marketing campaigns are aligned to drive traffic both online and off — learn how.
If you thought the brick and mortar store was dead, you might be in for a shock. Now, even traditionally, ecommerce brands are moving back to shopping malls and strips. The brick and mortar store is a valuable addition to a brand’s toolkit, but this kind of outlet is not without its issues. Cost is an obvious factor, with utility bills and rental prices affecting many brands that race to get to physical outlets. One of the most consistent issues is ensuring that your online marketing is aligned with the look, feel, and the customer experience in your physical premises. As the line between the digital and the physical continues to blur, here are some key areas to consider so that your online and offline marketing are aligned for maximum impact.
Employee and Brand Communication
One of the most important resources at your disposal is your employees. In a brick and mortar store, your team is the representation of your brand, and as such, they need to be fully aware of your brand culture and tone of voice. That’s on top of the basic standards that consumers expect, such as being personable, helpful, and knowledgeable about your products. Prioritize staff training and use signage to remind your team of the fundamentals.
From the moment a customer walks into your store, they should immediately feel your branding. The goal is to create a brand experience, and that means ensuring that your branding is visible immediately. Use your logos on any team uniform, and don’t be shy when it comes to putting your branded logos in key locations. Consider buying mylar sheets for creating your stencils, and covering walls and POS areas with your slogans, logos, and brand imagery. Consider your brand’s website color schemes and adopt the same coloring in your brick and mortar outlet. Make an impression, and those customers will remember you and be more likely to return.
Of course, most businesses will already be using social media to expand their audience reach and promote their brand. The mistake that many people make is not aligning that social media focus on their physical outlets. As millennials continue to enter the workforce in high numbers, they have the disposable income to spend, and that means catering to their needs. One of the most useful strategies is to design areas of your store with ‘social moments’ in mind. Consider how useful it is to your brand if you have an Instagrammable section of your store that customers will take pictures with and then share with their social platforms. Stay brand relevant and consider how to take advantage of customer-created marketing.
Geotargeting and Advertising
One of the most useful tech developments for brands with a physical store is geotargeted advertising. This works by pushing an advert for your business to a customer’s devices whenever they are within a set geographical distance from your outlet. Targeted ads are not new, and should already be in use across your online marketing strategy, but don’t dismiss the value of physically targeted ads. Not only do those pushed adverts let people know that your store is near, it can also be an opportunity to promote special offers. While any business with a physical store can benefit from geo-targeting, it is particularly well suited to:
- Restaurants and cafes
- Grocery stores
- Car dealers
- Seasonal stores
As 5G promises to have more widespread availability in the next few years, geotargeting is only going to become more important for those brands that want to stay ahead of the competition.
The digitization of retail is a good indicator of what to expect from consumer demand in the next few years. No matter your sector, your real-word store should be looking at ways to integrate the physical and the digital within your premises. Look at how retailers are installing interactive mirrors in changing rooms that allow customers to adjust lighting, chat to stylists, and compile a list of preferred items that can be added automatically to shopping carts. This is an area that can often involve some creativity for those brands, not specifically in retail, but there are options to consider for all sectors. The continued blurring of the line between the physical and the digital continues to be of importance for all business models. Even basic steps like using video walls in your window displays can add a touch of modernity to your store that it is otherwise lacking.
Click and Collect
If there’s one service that you need to offer, it’s the option for customers to buy online and pick up their goods from your store. If you’re not offering this option, then it should be one of your priorities. That’s because click and collect orders not only increase your sales; it also reduces product returns and enhances the customer experience. Even those businesses that are very small should look more at click and collect and should consider becoming a possible collection point for local businesses. Once you have structured your click and collect strategy, make sure that you let your customers pay for their purchases online. This reduces the psychological impact of handing over cash and ensures that the customers will visit your outlet for collection.
Store-Based Digital Interaction
There’s a good chance that every person that walks into your store will have a smartphone in their pocket. It’s just as likely that they will check their phone while on your premises. That means that you have an excellent opportunity to enhance the brand experience and add a whole new level of augmentation to your services. Look at using QR codes placed strategically around your store that leads customers to special offers and time-limited promotions. Using QR codes is simple and very effective, and there are lots of ways to gamify their use. The goal is to create a more immersive brand experience, so it’s also a good idea to look at self-service checkouts that give customers more control and for ensuring that they feel more involved with the buying process.
There are plenty of guides available that focus on digital marketing, but the physical store is still an important resource for many businesses. No matter your sector, make sure that your in-store branding is an extension of your digital marketing. Take the time to create a more seamless environment between the digital and the physical, and your business will make considerably more impact.