You’re already well aware of how e-commerce has totally changed the retail industry, but it’s only one application of the Internet and the connected power of today’s new shoppers. In the next few years, you can continue to expect a continued rise in online search, especially for shoppers who use the web to research products and services.
And, while some predict brick-and-mortar stores in the U.S. might be outpaced by e-commerce in sales in the next five years, physical stores still have great importance when it comes to increasing sales. Though, it seems online shopping undermines stores, more consumers still prefer in-store shopping to online shopping.
For any retail business to be successful, it needs to figure out ways to capitalize on both offline and online mediums as marketing opportunities.
It’s important for retailers to find effective ways to take advantage of online marketing to drive leads and improve lead conversion in their physical stores.
So, how can it be done?
“Word of mouth” is often the most effective advertising of all, and it’s free. So, it’s important for retailers to encourage their satisfied and happy customers to post online reviews about service and products.
It might pose a small challenge to persuade customers, since posting reviews requires them to invest the time to go online. Therefore, a “reward” strategy can be a good idea. Offer customers incentives for their reviews. Make use of discounts and free coupons, and provide them to customers who go the extra mile, like to those who submit video reviews.
Respond To Feedback
When reviews are actively encouraged, there has to be an expectation that not all of them will be positive. Make time to respond to reviews, and be especially diligent in addressing negative reviews. A simple “Thank you, I hope we can be of service to you again” is enough for positive reviews, but negative reviews will require extra attention.
When confronted with negative reviews, make sure to respond immediately. Contact concerned customers to resolve the issue. Often, your most vocal customers are also your most loyal, so making them feel both heard and value will go a long way toward shopper retention.
Get Listed And Stay Consistent
To attract potential customers online, a store has to make its business searchable for online users. List stores in business and niche directories, and ensure each listing is consistent and accurate in every detail.
Getting stores listed highly is critically important. In search, a shopper’s top search result is usually her first choice. Anything below the first page of search results will not drive business results.
Nail Your Social Interaction
Here is a fact: Humanizing the brand is essential for the business. As much as possible, retailers have to build deeper shopper relationships. When shoppers feel they are valued, they often become very loyal.
Outside of e-commerce and informational websites, social media accounts can generate huge numbers of inbound leads to stores through authentic, genuine and sincere interactions.
Above All, Stay Proactive
In today’s new retail, businesses will not prosper if they do not know how to leverage every potential marketing opportunity. Proactive businesses know how to both anticipate and handle situations that lie ahead. There are a myriad of opportunities available online and off, so learn to grab every opportunity for the best of your business.
As a Scoopfed Editor, Key Acanto shares her knowledge and insights about business and marketing in both online and offline mediums. She also is a part of Dlinkers‘ content department. Connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.