How to Bridge the Gap Between Digital & Brick and Mortar

Bryce Hamlin
By Bryce Hamlin

The digital world seems to grow bigger and bigger everyday. For most this is a great thing providing more information and access to everyone. But for brick and mortar stores, it’s an ever concerning challenge that needs to be addressed immediately. Bridging this ever widening gap will be crucial to the survival of brick and mortar stores as digital continues to consume more of the market share. Worried about how you can do that? We have some ideas, just keep reading.

Have A Great Website

Gone are the days where you could get by without a website. Now people expect to be able to find your brand on the internet before they even decide to come into your storefront. People like to research a place before committing the time, energy, and money to get there so make sure you have a great website that accurately represents your brand. Give online shoppers a reason to come see you in person!

First, you’ll want to ensure you have an awesome landing page experience. This is the first impression visitors will have of your brand and you want to draw them in to staying a while. This could mean a lot of different things depending on what it is you sell. A good guideline is to make sure visitors know what it is you sell and why they should make a purchase from you over other options.

Related: Why Is E-Commerce So Important?

Which leads us to our second point, be sure to strategically think about your sales funnel when designing the site. You want to ease your visitors through the purchasing process so that they have an enjoyable experience. For example, if you’re a clothing retailer you may display various collections of clothing on the homepage, possibly a ‘Date Night’ or ‘Wear to Work’ collection. This helps your shoppers quickly navigate to items that fit what they are looking for. Plus, displaying these items as a collection might entice a shopper to buy more when they see complete outfits put together.

Have A Local SEO Strategy

Given that your storefront is in a single location, you’ll want to make sure local shoppers know where that is. As mentioned previously, many shoppers these days will research a store online before making the decision to come in. You’ll want to take advantage of local SEO strategies to make sure you are getting in front of relevant and local eyes.

Your first step will be to claim your free Google My Business listing. This allows to provide the most accurate and up-to-date listing information to Google so customers always know your address, phone number, business hours, and more! Once you have your listing up and running you can work on ranking for “near me” terms. This allows users to discover your store even if they aren’t searching for it explicitly. Going back to our retail example, ranking for “clothing store near me” would show searchers your listing when they are in the vicinity of your store. The more complete your listing, the higher your ranking can become.

Google My Business is just the beginning though. You’ll want to make sure you are taking advantage of any and all relevant local directories. This might include Facebook, Yelp, Better Business Bureau, Bing, Angie’s List, and more. It all depends on what type of business or store you operate.

Run Local PPC Ads

Take advantage of AdWords whenever you can! It’s 2017, you should be running PPC ads. If you aren’t, know that your competitors definitely are. If you’re curious, search a few phrases related to your business on Google and see what ads you’re served. Odds are that you’ll recognize some, if not all of the names associated with the ads.

AdWords’ location targeting settings allows you to put your business in front of people in a certain area actively looking for a product or service that you provide. For example, let’s say that 95% of your store’s revenue comes from buyers that are from 3 certain zip codes near your store. You can narrow your ad targeting to just those zip codes, and then apply a keyword set that will make sure that your ad is seen by that person.

Related: Local PPC Strategies & Tips for Your Business

One warning with using AdWords: you can rack up a significant bill if you don’t keep an eye on your account. I recommend reading through some articles on the Paid Media section of our blog for tips (http://blog.powerdigitalmarketing.com/topic/paid-media).

Utilize Email Marketing

Using email marketing to your advantage can be a great way to bring digital shoppers into your storefront. You can prospect a robust email list in many different ways, but a great start would be to have a signup available both on your website and in your store. This allows interested customers to join the list.

Once you have a list, you can begin to send relevant customers your in-store deals and promotions. To execute this idea properly, it might be a good idea to have a segmented list of email signups that came directly from your storefront. It won’t do you or the customer much good to receive in-store promotions if your storefront is in San Francisco and they live in Brooklyn.

You’ll also want to give all your emails a strong call to action (CTA) with a clickable next step. This allows your customers to easily move from the email to the actionable next step without hesitation or obstruction. These CTAs may include a promotion on the site, a signup, or something else. Just be sure to give the shopper clear direction.

Keep In-Store Pricing Competitive

In order to draw customers offline and into your storefront, you’ll need to keep your in-store pricing competitive with the digital landscape. Our sources say that over 50% of customers will now check in-store prices against online prices while they are shopping in the store versus just 15% two years ago. That’s a dramatic increase! So if your customers realize they can get one of your items online for a cheaper price, they’ll likely walk out of the store. Maybe even while making the online purchase!

Digitize Your Window Shopping

If you run a retail store that is window shopping heavy, you’ll want to recreate that experience for your online shoppers. You can do so by making sure you have high quality, professional photographs that give online shoppers a sense of what each product is like. The better the image, the better the shopper’s experience.

Related: Which E-Commerce Platform is Best for My Online Business?

Just like the layout of your storefront, you’ll want to have an easily navigable site layout online. You don’t want shoppers to have to hunt for what they are trying to find. A hard to navigate website will result in frustrated shoppers that abandon your store. Make it as easy as possible for them to find and make a purchase.

Pay Attention To Online Reviews

Customer reviews posted online can have a massive effect on your in-store foot traffic. When shoppers research a new store, they often look at reviews and read about other shoppers’ experiences. If you have bad reviews, people will be turned off of your store.

As the new “word of mouth,” reviews should not be ignored. But the good news is, since these reviews are posted online, they are measurable. You can easily identify how many good versus bad reviews you have and most review sites even show you an average customer rating of your store.

Following up on bad reviews can help you too. While the reviewer may not change their review, you’ll be able to show future customers that you are responsive and open to feedback. Having a smart outreach strategy such as this, combined with a social media strategy, will greatly increase your chances of in-store success.

Step Up Your Social Media

At this point, you should already be on social media. (If you’re not, take a look at which platforms you should be on.) The beauty of social media is that it allows you to interact and engage with your audience. Use this to your advantage! Learn about your audience on social media and understand who is coming into your store by speaking to them on various social platforms. This will also help those shoppers feel more connected to your store and brand overall.

You can also use social media to promote in-store specials. By sharing some of these deals only on social media channels, you can increase your following. Let in-store customers know to follow you on social media for first looks at new items and special deals. As you begin building a following, you can use social media to a greater advantage.

 

Digital Marketing Assessment

 

Learn More Here

Bryce is a Paid Media Account Manager at Power Digital with experience with both Google and Facebook advertising. He attended SDSU (not too far from our office!) and has been apart of the PDM team since 2015. He's been passionate about technology and entrepreneurship his entire life and this passion translates through to his work in Digital. Out of the office, you can find Bryce at the beach, on a hike, or anywhere that has live music!